Paris, June 6 (IANS) The Novak Djokovic juggernaut continued to roll at the French Open in pursuit of his third crown at Roland Garros, 23rd Grand Slam title and World No.1 ranking as the Serbian weathered a tough challenge from Karen Khachanov to reach the men’s singles semifinals here on Tuesday.
In a well-contested quarterfinal, the third seed Djokovic braved an early barrage from Khachanov before sealing an ultimately comfortable 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-victory at the clay-court major.
Djokovic did not earn a breakpoint in the opening two sets but raised his level spectacularly from the second-set tie-break onwards on Court Philippe-Chatrier to seal a three-hour, 38-minute win.
Djokovic has endured some tough battles in the previous rounds and Tuesday’s victory was another demonstration of his ability to stay the course in best-of-five matches. He was taken to early tie-breaks by both Marton Fucsovics in the second round and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the third before prevailing in straight sets.
On Tuesday, the 22 Grand Slam winner mixed well-times drop shots with deep groundstrokes to nullify Khachanov’s power game.
The two-time Roland Garros champion converted four of his eight break points across the third and fourth sets and finished the match having outhit his 11th-seeded opponent by 57 winners to 38 overall.
Djokovic’s opponent in the final four will be the winner of the quarterfinal clash between World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz and fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Serbian can replace Alcaraz as No. 1 in the ATP Rankings by lifting a record 23rd major title this fortnight in Paris.