Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

‘I value this year more’ – Djokovic storms to first Masters 1000 semi-final of 2022 in Madrid

World number one Novak Djokovic has edged one step closer to his fourth Madrid Masters title following an impressive straight sets victory over Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

Djokovic reached his 72nd Masters 1000 semi-final in the Spanish capital as he eased past Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets winning 6-3, 6-4.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner looked sharp and in-tune from the start, whereas Hurkacz struggled with his serve as he double-faulted to give the Serbian the decisive break and a 3-0 lead in the first set.

The Polish number 12 seed finally found his service rhythm but paid the price for giving the Serbian top seed a head start as Djokovic remained untroubled to claim the opener in just 33 minutes.

The second set continued in a similar pattern with Hurkacz, who was playing in his third straight Masters 1000 quarter-final, survived a break point in the opening game of the second set before eventually being broken in the 5th game to give Djokovic the advantage.

The Serb continued to play with real dominance and authority with the world number 14 even having to defend two match points on his own serve before Djokovic served it out on his fourth opportunity to comfortably reach the semi final in the Spanish capital for the first time since 2019.

After reaching his first Masters semi-final of 2022, Djokovic discussed his quarter-final win stating that this victory meant a lot to him personally.

“I value it this year more than in previous years because of the circumstances of everything,” Djokovic said. “Look, I still feel motivated to play and be competitive on court, competing with most of the young guys.

“Obviously there’s a change in generation, but the oldies, we’re still out there. We are guys with experience trying to make them run on the court. One thing is for sure, I will definitely play as long as I enjoy it.”

He also discussed his performance in more detail, as he thought his serve was key to the victory.

“In the first set, we both didn’t play so great, there were a lot of unforced errors” he explained. “It took us both time to really adjust and adapt to the conditions because it was different from the other days as well. In the second set, there was a better quality of tennis.

“I was serving really well in the second. That really kept me alive. He was serving good too. I was pleased with the way I was constructing the point, trying to make him run and overall it was a solid performance. You have to adapt and accept the circumstances and make the most out of them.”

Djokovic improved to 7-3 for what has so far been a disrupted 2022 season and will meet teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals after the man from Murcia won a historic battle against the ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.

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