Novak Djokovic wore down Lucas Pouille after an even first set, dispatching the Frenchman 7-6(2) 6-1 in a Cincinnati Masters quarter-final in Ohio on Friday (August 16).
The match was much closer than when the pair met in the Australian Open semi-finals in January, when Djokovic conceded only four games before going on to win the title. It took nearly an hour to prevail in the first set but he closed out a one-sided tiebreak with a deft backhand passing shot.
The second was one-way traffic as the world number one played with relentless efficiency against an opponent who ran out of answers. Perhaps the only concern for Djokovic with the U.S. Open looming in less than two weeks was a sore elbow which required brief treatment by his trainer late in the match.
“I managed to finish the match, had a little bit of tightness in my elbow but hopefully everything will be fine for tomorrow,” Djokovic said in an on-court interview. He will have less than 24 hours to recover for a semi-final against Daniil Medvedev, who continued his recent hot form, ousting Russian compatriot Andrey Rublev 6-2 6-3 in barely an hour.