Djokovic awaits Nadal or Alcaraz after cruising into Madrid semis

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during his quarter final match against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz at Caja Magica, Madrid May 6, 2022. — Reuters pic
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his quarter final match against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz at Caja Magica, Madrid May 6, 2022. — Reuters pic

MADRID, May 6 — Novak Djokovic reached his seventh Madrid semi-final on Friday, easing past Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-4 to record a 30th career victory in the Spanish capital.

The world number one awaits one of two Spaniards, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, in what will be a highly-anticipated last-four showdown.

“I don’t really care who is on the opposite side of the net to be honest. I just want to be playing better and better each day. For me this is the most important thing right now, my focus and my intention is really focusing on myself,” said Djokovic.

Djokovic started with a break and it was all he needed to grab the opening set in 33 minutes.

Hurkacz dropped serve in game five of the second set as Djokovic once again charged to a commanding lead.

The Polish 12th seed saved two match points on his own serve at 5-3, forcing Djokovic to serve out the win. And the 34-year-old Serb had no trouble closing, moving into the final four with an 81-minute success.

Djokovic has not competed much in 2022 due to his vaccination status that has prevented him from playing in Australia or entering the United States.

His win on Friday was just his seventh of the year and he’ll be trying to make a second final of the season, having placed runner-up in Belgrade last month.

Djokovic received a walkover in the last 16 when Andy Murray pulled out with stomach illness.

“I didn’t play my third round against Andy but I feel physically good, I’ve been striking the ball well,” said Djokovic.

“It wasn’t really nice looking tennis in the first set (against Hurkacz) but I think second set we raised the quality and the level. I served well when I needed to, held the break, which was sufficient in both sets.” — AFP