Impressive Djokovic Ends Lu's Run
by Kate Flory|
World No. 3 Novak Djokovic produced arguably his best display of The Championships so far as he ended Yen-Hsun Lu’s dream run in the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory on Wednesday at the All England Club.
As a result of his victory and Roger Federer’s quarter-final loss to Tomas Berdych, Djokovic will return to No. 2 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Monday. He dropped to World No. 3 on 17 May after 13 weeks at No. 2.
The 23-year-old Djokovic is back in the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time since 2007 (l. to Nadal) and is hoping he can reach a third Grand Slam final when he faces Berdych on Friday. “I sincerely hope to continue this level,” said Djokovic. “I have nothing to lose in the semi-finals. I’m hoping to go one step further than three years ago.
"He [Berdych] has got some great results in last couple of months. So he's one of the toughest players to play against I guess lately. I'm gonna have to be patient and wait for the chances. Obviously, both of us, we gonna have a great motivation to proceed to the next round and finals. I would give everything to play finals in Wimbledon.”
The Serbian won his lone major title at the 2008 Australian Open (d. Tsonga) and also finished runner-up to Roger Federer at the 2007 US Open. He came into Wimbledon under the radar, after struggling to find his best form in the first six months of the year, and has progressed quietly through the draw to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final of the season.
Djokovic opened his campaign with a five-set thriller against Olivier Rochus; it was the latest-ever finish at The Championships, ending under the lights and roof on Centre Court at 22:59. Since then, the Belgrade native had accounted for Taylor Dent, Albert Montanes and 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt for the loss of just one set.
The right-hander stepped his game up yet another gear in his ruthless dismissal of the No. 82-ranked Lu, who stunned three-time runner-up Andy Roddick in five sets in the fourth round on Monday to become the first Asian man in 15 years to reach a major quarter-final.
Djokovic broke through Lu’s defences in the sixth game, having been foiled by the Chinese Taipei representative earlier in the set, and went on to wrap up a one-set lead in 31 minutes. Lu was not fazed by his unfamiliar surroundings, playing a Top 3 player on Court One in a major quarter-final, but could find no solution to Djokovic’s devastating attack. The Serbian broke serve twice in the fifth and seventh games as he raced to a two-set lead and two more service breaks in the third set sealed victory for Djokovic in one hour and 51 minutes.
“It's really refreshing to perform this way I'd say after a while. I was struggling with the level of my performance throughout the last five, six months. It was a lot of ups and downs. But right now I'm playing great. It definitely makes me happy. Right now I think I'm raising my confidence level and performance level match after match. This is something that is very encouraging in this stage of the tournament.”
“Nothing is easy these days, especially at this stage of the tournament. I deserved to win. I’m very, very happy with the performance today,” said Djokovic, who served particularly well in the encounter, winning 35 of 41 points behind his first serve and not facing a break point.
The 26-year-old Lu, who is projected to break the Top 50 of the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday, dropped to a 3-12 record against Top 10 players. He has achieved his best-ever result at a Grand Slam and also on grass courts, having previously only won successive matches on this surface once before at The Queen’s Club in 2004.
“I tried my best,” said Lu. “Of course, he's great player. He give me a lot of pressure today. I mean, I try to stay in the lines and also I try to move him, but he's played better than me. And so I have nothing to say. He's better player today. Is very special experience for me. Is good I'm in the quarter-final and I finish this tournament. Is great memory to be think about.”