ATP

Djokovic through to semis in Tel Aviv, Sinner to face Rune in Sofia

By Sports Desk September 30, 2022

Novak Djokovic sealed his place in the final four at the Tel Aviv Open after beating one of his "best friends" Vasek Pospisil on Friday.

The Serbian was made to work hard by his Canadian opponent, particularly in the first set, but eventually won 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

Djokovic was particularly impressive on his second serve, winning 70 per cent of them, only four per cent less than his first serve success rate, and he hit just eight unforced errors compared to Pospisil's 21.

"It was a great, positive win," Djokovic said afterwards. "Vasek is one of my best friends on the Tour. We have known each other for many years. It is never easy playing someone you respect so much and like so much, but we are both professionals and wanted to win the match and you can see that.

"I think the level of tennis was really high. Especially towards the end of the first set and the second set. Credit to him for fighting. It's great to see him back."

The number one seed will play Roman Safiullin in the semi-finals after the Russian beat Arthur Rinderknech 6-4 6-1.

Constant Lestienne came through a tight contest with Maxime Cressy, winning 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-3), and will face number two seed Marin Cilic in the other semi after the Croatian was handed a bye following Liam Broady's withdrawal prior to their match.

At the Sofia Open, Jannik Sinner remains on course for a third successive title at the tournament, setting up a final-four encounter with Holger Rune after easing past Aleksandar Vukic 6-2 6-3, with Rune eventually dispatching Ilya Ivashka 6-2 5-7 6-4.

The other semi-final in Bulgaria will see Lorenzo Musetti take on Marc-Andrea Huesler after both won their respective quarter-finals against Jan-Lennard Struff and Kamil Majchrzak.

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    "No matter what you do, your age or how you are doing, if you really love the sport and you love what you do, you can do it and you can push hard for as many years and as many tournaments as you want.

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    "How differently they do things with food, with practice, with everything. It's crazy.

    "I think, okay, 'in one small way he's the best to do this side of the game', and then the other one is the best [at another aspect], so it's not my thing, who the GOAT is."

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