Four-time champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the ninth time on Wednesday, racking up his 70th career win at the All England Club in the process.
The top seed and world number one hit back from a break down in the first set to carve out a commanding 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win over 21st seed David Goffin of Belgium.
In a ruthless display, the defending champion reeled off 15 of the last 17 games to secure a place in the semi-finals of the majors for the 36th time.
Next up is Spanish 23rd seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who made his first Grand Slam semi-final with a 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 over Argentina’s Guido Pella.
“He started well and was dictating play from the baseline,” 32-year-old Djokovic said of Goffin.
“Things could have gone a different way if I had lost the first set but I was very pleased with the second and third.
He added: “I had a tough match in the third round [against Hubert Hurkacz]. Other than that, I’ve won in straight sets and played really well throughout the tournament.
“It’s exactly what I wanted and hopefully I can go in the right direction in the semis as well.”
Goffin was on top in the early stages as he sensed the opportunity to become the first Belgian man to make the semi-finals at a Slam since Xavier Malisse at Wimbledon in 2002.
The 28-year-old broke for a 4-3 lead but 16-time Slam winner Djokovic then reeled off the next nine games, taking the first set, and the second in which he allowed the Belgian just four points on his serve.
The contest was over by the time Djokovic broke for a 3-1 lead in the third set.
Bautista Agut, 31, booked his first appearance in a Slam last-four at the 27th attempt by seeing off Pella, who had never previously reached a quarter-final at the majors.
“Novak is the number one in the world and he’s playing really well on grass,” said Bautista Agut, who has a 3-7 record against the Serb. However, two of those wins came this year in Doha and Miami.
“I knew I had a good opportunity to play in the semi-final and I did very well,” added the 23rd seed.
Both may have been outside the top 20 – the first quarter-final to involve two outside the top 20 since Lukasz Kubot and Jerzy Janowicz in 2013 – but they put on a good show for the Court One spectators.
The expressionless Bautista Agut looked fully in control till 26th seed Pella found his rhythm in the third set and threatened to come back as he had done against Milos Raonic in the previous round.
However, Bautista Agut got a break to lead 3-1 in the fourth and held 29-year-old Pella at bay to close out the match and dash his opponent’s hopes of becoming only the third Argentinian man to reach the last four at Wimbledon.
“Guido is a really good fighter,” he said. “It was a really good fight.
“He’s a really good player. Every match is really difficult here, every opponent gives everything on the court.
“I’m enjoying playing on these courts. I’ve enjoyed every match I’ve played.”
Bautista Agut, whose previous best at Grand Slams was reaching the last eight at this year’s Australian Open, has beaten Djokovic twice already this year in Qatar and Miami.
With AFP Inputs