Eastbourne 2017: Novak Djokovic eases into final by beating Daniil Medvedev
|Venue: Devonshire Park, Eastbourne Date: 26 June-1 July Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online|
Novak Djokovic made light work of promising Russian Daniil Medvedev to reach the Aegon International final on his debut in Eastbourne.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion took his second match point to win 6-4 6-4 in just an hour and 22 minutes.
Djokovic is playing his first pre-Wimbledon grass-court event in seven years as he looks to improve his form going into the Championships next week.
“I could not be happier to reach the final,” said the 30-year-old Serb.
Djokovic will play second seed Gael Monfils, who won 2-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-4) against close friend Richard Gasquet in an all-French semi-final, in Saturday’s final.
Seventh seed Gasquet saved two match points at 6-2 5-4 with a brilliant stretching drop-shot, before Monfils needed lengthy treatment in the next game when he injured his knee after slipping on the baseline.
Monfils recovered to take the set into a tie-break, only to miss a third match point before Gasquet, 31, forced a decider when Monfils double-faulted on the third set point.
Monfils, 30, failed to serve out for victory at 5-4, but took his fourth match point in the tie-breaker.
“I was hoping to do well but this is the dream result. I can fight for the trophy and I hope to perform,” added Djokovic.
Djokovic has dropped to fourth in the world rankings after a turbulent year in which he has won only one title and split with his coaching team.
But the top seed, who is yet to drop a set in Eastbourne, is one more win away from his first grass-court title since winning Wimbledon in 2015.
Medvedev, a 21-year-old ranked 52nd in the world, did break Djokovic’s serve in the first set, but it was not enough to stop the former world number one, who did not face another break point in the second set.
Djokovic said earlier this week that 2017 had been his toughest year in tennis.
The former world number one held all four Grand Slam titles going into last year’s Championships, but now holds none.
He suffered a surprise early exit to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon last year, then was beaten by Swiss third seed Stan Wawrinka in the US Open final.
Djokovic was stunned by world number 117 Denis Istomin in the Australian Open second round in January, before losing in the French Open quarter-finals earlier this month.
Three-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic will play Slovakia’s Martin Klizan in the first round next week.