October 5, 2019 / 10:41 AM / 19 days ago

Djokovic eases past Goffin to set up Tokyo final with Millman

(Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic eased past Belgian third seed David Goffin 6-3 6-4 at the Japan Open in Tokyo on Saturday to book his place in Sunday’s final against John Millman.

Tennis - Japan Open - Men's Singles - Semi-Finals - Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan - October 5, 2019. Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during his match against David Goffin of Belgium. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Djokovic beat Goffin in one hour and 29 minutes, extending his head-to-head record against the 2017 champion to seven wins, and will now face Australia’s Millman who beat American Reilly Opelka in the other semi-final.

Top seeded Djokovic hit seven aces and won 87% of his first-service points against Goffin in the Serb’s first tournament since withdrawing from the U.S. Open fourth round with a shoulder injury.

“I’m very satisfied with the way I’ve been playing the whole week,” Djokovic said. “It’s been a very positive week on the court, off the week as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to crown it tomorrow with a trophy.

“Obviously he was in good form and played really well against Chung yesterday in the quarters.

“The conditions are playing quick here. The surface doesn’t bounce that much, so you’ve got to be very low and quick on return as well. It definitely was not easy when both of us were serving well.”

Djokovic has dominated opponents in Tokyo and is yet to drop a set in the tournament and the 16-times Grand Slam champion needed only two breaks of serve to win in straight sets and reach his fifth final of the season.

Earlier, Millman took down Opelka 6-3 7-6(4) to reach his first ever ATP 500 final.

Big-serving Opelka fired 13 aces but could not convert either of his two break points while Millman needed only one break of serve in the opening set before winning the second in the tiebreak.

“That was a pretty good match, it’s always difficult playing against someone like Reilly who has got such a massive serve,” Millman said. “I was really happy to take the few little chances I had and took care of my own service games pretty well.

“I get to play a final of an ATP 500 in such a special place like Tokyo. For me, that’s why you play. That’s why you go through the graft and some of the tougher times, to give yourself an opportunity like this. It’s pretty special.”

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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