Djokovic sets up Cincinnati semi-final with Zverev as US Open prep ramps up

Novak Djokovic on the importance of routines

Novak Djokovic is into the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters after comfortably seeing off Taylor Fritz. The Serb will face Alexander Zverev in the final four, and the German has been receiving guidance from reigning Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz during his run at the tournament.

Returning to the court for the first time since losing to Alcaraz at SW19, Djokovic has been virtually flawless in Ohio. A walkover against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was followed by a straight-sets win over Gael Monfils before his quarter-final against Fritz.

Djokovic made light work of the world No 9 on Friday evening, coming through 6-0 6-4 in little over an hour as his preparation for the upcoming US Open continues. The 23-time Grand Slam champion is still on course to meet Alcaraz in the final, where he would have a shot at redemption after coming off second best at the All England Club.

“Obviously being the No 1 American, [Fritz] gets a lot of crowd support,” Djokovic said after his latest win. “I just managed to get out of the blocks really strong and play an almost perfect, flawless first set.

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“Then I started off really poorly in the second and handed him the break, but from 2-4 down, I played four really solid games in the second. Just overall a great performance.”

Zverev is up next for Djokovic, and the 26-year-old is in fine form after notching wins over the likes of Grigor Dimitrov and Adrian Mannarino to make it to the semis in Cincinnati.

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Also included on that run was a win over third seed Daniil Medvedev in the round of 16. It subsequently emerged that Zverev had been offered advice by Alcaraz during a recent round of golf, following the Spaniard’s comfortable win over Medvedev at Wimbledon.

“The golf course was about 30 minutes away from where we were staying, and in those 30 minutes that we were together we had a lot of time for talking,” Alcaraz explained. “We asked each other a few things, and [how to beat Medvedev] was one of his questions.

“He told me that I had just come off a very comfortable win against Daniil, and he asked me what was the right tactic? How did I do it? And you know, I’m a nice kid… I think I’m a bit naive in that way, so I told him how I approached the match.”

In contrast to Djokovic, Alcaraz has had to expend plenty of energy to make it to the semi-finals in Cincinnati. Each of his matches against Jordan Thompson, Tommy Paul and Max Purcell went to three sets, with big-serving Hubert Hurkacz up next.

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