Queen's Club Championships: Novak Djokovic cruises into semi-finals; Nick Kyrgios sets up clash against Marin Cilic

London: Novak Djokovic became the 10th man to register 800 victories since the Open Era began in 1968 when he beat France's Adrian Mannarino 7-5. 6-1 on Friday to reach the Queen's Club semi-finals.

Djokovic, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, follows in the footsteps of Jimmy Connors (1,256), Roger Federer (1,156), Ivan Lendl (1,068), Guillermo Vilas (949), Rafael Nadal (903), John McEnroe (881), Andre Agassi (870), Ilie Nastase (846) and Stefan Edberg (801).

Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his quarter-final match against Adrian Mannarino. Reuters

Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his quarter-final match against Adrian Mannarino. Reuters

The 31-year-old will play France's Jeremy Chardy -- a 6-4, 6-4 winner over American youngster Frances Tiafoe -- on Saturday as he bids for a second Queen's final appearance.

Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios blazed past Feliciano Lopez with a barrage of aces to reach the semi-finals on Friday.

The 23-year-old was in dazzling form as he claimed a 7-6(5), 7-6(3) victory against the defending champion to set up a clash with top seed Marin Cilic who breezed past Sam Querrey.

Kyrgios has his detractors, and his volatile temperament has frequently landed him in hot water with the game’s authorities.

But on his day, when his mind does not wander and he lets his racket do the talking, there are few players who can electrify a tennis court quite like him.

He finished off Lopez with his 32nd ace on Friday, matching the total he landed against Briton’s Kyle Edmund on Thursday, having also served 18 against Andy Murray on Tuesday.

So far his favourite weapon has delivered 4,100 pounds this week to a London children’s hospital, which benefits to the sum of 50 pounds for every ace fired down on the Queen’s centre court.

With two more matches still possible, few would bet against Kyrgios adding his name alongside a prestigious list of winners here, that donation looks set to swell.

“I can’t remember a specific time when I’ve served at this level back to back,” Kyrgios, who was narrowly beaten by Roger Federer in Stuttgart last week, told reporters.

To bracket Kyrgios purely as a serving machine, however, would be inaccurate. On Friday against the cultured left-hander Lopez he illustrated just how many weapons he has at his disposal — including the logic-defying trick shots.

His jabby double-handed backhand, delivered with almost no backswing, gave him the first mini-break in the first set tiebreaker, and he followed that with a backhand passing shot off a low skidding Lopez approach.

An exquisite lob gave him daylight in the tiebreaker and then he ended the first set by feathering a crafty drop shot.

Playing classical serve and volley tennis, Lopez exerted pressure on Kyrgios in the second set but there was no hint of the meltdowns that have occurred in the past.

At 3-4 Kyrgios was down 15-40 but conjured a 134mph second serve on his way to holding. The world number 21 then faced a set point at 4-5 but Lopez was powerless as another ace flew by.

Kyrgios got steamed up early in the tiebreak, yelling at his entourage. But he remained calm enough to claim victory with yet another bamboozling first serve.

The day’s earlier match was a snooze fest by comparison as Cilic beat Querrey 7-6(3), 6-2 in little more than an hour.

Cilic failed to convert a set point in the 10th game but once he had taken the opening tiebreaker he was untroubled.

The big Croat, winner of the prestigious Wimbledon warmup event in 2012 and runner-up in 2013 and last year, was ruthless as he won nine points in a row on his way to a 4-0 lead and was untouchable on serve as he sealed victory in 78 minutes.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Jun 23, 2018 00:22 AM

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