London - Novak
Djokovic crushed David Goffin 6-1, 6-2 at the ATP Tour Finals on
Thursday as the world number two kept his foot on the gas in the race to
finish the year atop the world rankings.
Djokovic had already qualified for the semi-finals as group winner,
but the Serb was keen to keep the momentum going in his bid to overhaul
world number one Andy Murray and he took just 69 minutes to demolish
Goffin at London's O2 Arena.
Joining Djokovic in the last four is Milos Raonic, who defeated
Dominic Thiem 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 to become the first Canadian to reach the
semi-finals of the Tour Finals.
Djokovic has been in a prolonged slump since winning the French Open
for the first time in June, sparking rumours about his private life and
questions about his recent involvement with a 'spiritual guru' as he
lost the top ranking to Murray.
But the decline is all relative as the 29-year-old has now won 21 of
his last 22 matches at the Tour Finals, keeping him on course to win the
tournament for a fifth successive year and record-equalling sixth time
It is also the fourth time in the last five years that Djokovic has won all three of his group matches at the Tour Finals.
Djokovic is now 70 points ahead of Murray in the ATP's 'as it stands'
rankings, although he already knew winning the tournament would give
him the year-end pole position whatever happened against Goffin.
"I'm very glad my game is going in the right direction. Today I felt
the most comfortable so far in the tournament," Djokovic said.
"I felt like I increased the quality of tennis compared to the other matches.
"I'm looking forward to the semi-finals on Saturday."
Murray faces Stan Wawrinka in his
last group match on Friday knowing a victory would guarantee he
qualifies as group winner, thus avoiding a clash with Djokovic before
Goffin was a late replacement for the already eliminated Gael
Monfils, who pulled out of his last group match to avoid aggravating the
rib injury that has troubled him for several weeks.
The Belgian, up to a career high 11th in the world rankings, had been
paid £80 000 to hang around the O2 Arena all week as one of
the tournament's on-call substitute players, but even that sum might not
have made up for acting as a punch bag for Djokovic.
Djokovic had won all four of his previous encounters with Goffin and
he quickly took control again with a break in the fourth game of the
Not for the first time this week, Djokovic cut a tetchy, brooding
figure and after being given a time violation for taking too long
between serves he had an animated conversation with both the umpire and
tournament supervisor as he complained about not being given a warning
Controlling his emotions was proving tricky, but Djokovic was in
complete command of his play and he broke again to take the first set
Djokovic was in ruthless mood and breaks in the third and fifth games of the second set effectively ended the contest.
In Thursday's evening session, Raonic maintained his remarkable
success in London this year with a powerful display that secured the
runners-up spot in the group.
The world number four had enjoyed impressive runs to the Wimbledon
and Queen's finals on the other side of the capital in the summer and he
saw off Thiem in 90 minutes to reach his ninth semi-final of the year.
Collated results from the fifth day of the ATP Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt David Goffin (BEL, Alternate) 6-1, 6-2
Milos Raonic (CAN x4) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT x8) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA/USA x3) bt Treat Huey/Max Mirnyi (PHI/BLR x8) 6-4, 6-4
Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares (GBR/BRA x2) bt Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo (CRO/BRA x6) 6-3, 3-6, 10/6