Djokovic Beats Young For Eastbourne SF Berth
Organisers play catch up after two days of rain
World No. 4 Novak Djokovic became the first player to reach the Aegon International semi-finals on Thursday as organisers of the ATP World Tour 250 tournament played catch-up due to rain.
Djokovic, who has a 3-3 record in grass-court finals, overcame American Donald Young 6-2, 7-6(9) at Devonshire Park in one hour and 35 minutes.
"I enjoyed it, especially in the second set," said Djokovic. "The first set went my way and I played well. I felt good on the court and had some break point opportunities early in the second set... I think Donald started playing with less unforced errors, playing with more variety and using his forehand very well from all over the court.
"He served for the set, had a set point and then had set point in the tie-break. It was very close second set. Obviously, it could have gone easily his way. But it hasn't, and I'm just glad the way I kind of held my composure, my nerves. This is the kind of match situations that I was looking forward to having, and I'm glad it happened today and I managed to overcome that."
The Serbian star was rarely under pressure on serve until Young broke to lead 5-4 in the second set, but the American then failed to convert a set point chance at 40/30 with a forehand long in the next game.
Top seed Djokovic wasn’t out of danger just yet as he saved a second set point at 5/6 in the tie-break, with a kick serve out wide that Young returned into the net. Unable to convert match point chances at 7/6 (backhand into the net), 8/7 (lob long) and 9/8 (backhand return wide), Djokovic finally converted his fourth opportunity after Young had double faulted at 9/9.
Several second-round matches were completed earlier on Thursday.
Second seed Gael Monfils completed a 6-3, 6-2 win over wild card Cameron Norrie, striking eight aces and losing just five of his first service points, for a place in the quarter-finals. The pair had resumed at 6-3, 2-1, following rain on Wednesday. Monfils will now challenge Bernard Tomic, who defeated sixth seed Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-2 in 51 minutes.