Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the ninth time on Wednesday and admitted that rivals will have “to work twice as hard” if he is to be denied a fifth title.
The world number one eased to a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win over David Goffin of Belgium securing his 70th match win at the All England Club.
In a ruthless display on Centre Court, Djokovic reeled off 15 of the last 17 games.
“I hope at this stage my opponent feels, when playing against me, that he has to work twice as hard as against anyone else,” said defending champion Djokovic who will be playing in his 36th semi-final at the majors.
“I’ve been playing my best tennis in this tournament in the last two rounds.
“Especially today second set and third set against Goffin, who was in form, I felt like I managed to dismantle his game and find always the right shots. Very pleased with the performance.”
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.
Djokovic leads Bautista Agut 7-3, but the 31-year-old Spaniard has got the better of him twice in 2019 in Doha and Miami.
Goffin was on top in the early stages on Wednesday 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 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.
“You have to play the perfect point to win it against him,” admitted a shell-shocked Goffin who described facing the Serb as facing a “wall”.
“Then he’s returning in your feet all the time. It’s so tough. Even if you play well, it’s not enough because he continues to play deep, close from the line, left, right.
“He was everywhere.”