Djokovic overpowers Goffin to reach Japan Open final

TOKYO (AP) — Novak Djokovic continued his dominant run at the Japan Open, overpowering third-seeded David Goffin in straight sets yesterday to reach his fifth final this season.

Competing in the Japanese capital for the first time, Djokovic beat Goffin 6-3, 6-4 to set up a final with Australian qualifier John Millman, who beat Reilly Opelka 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Djokovic got off to a strong start, breaking Goffin in the second game of the first set.

“I knew that coming into this match he was in good form,” said Djokovic, who is attempting to win a title on his tournament debut for the 10th time. “He was hitting the ball well, feeling well so I needed to start well which I did. I made a break early in the match and with a break advantage I managed to hold my serve and win the first set 6-3.”

The top-ranked Djokovic has not dropped a set in his four singles matches at Ariake Colosseum. None of his eight sets have gone to a tie-break, and he has been broken just twice in the tournament, losing an average of 3.5 games per set.

Djokovic broke Goffin in the first game of the second with a perfectly-placed volley at the net. Down 15-40 in the second game, he fought back to hold serve and never looked back.

“It was the same scenario in the second set,” Djokovic said. “Started off with the break, saved some break points in a really close game — the second game of the second set — then after that I think we both served extremely well and precise.”

Goffin was the only former champion in the draw. He lost to Nick Kyrgios in the 2016 final before defeating Adrian Mannarino for the title in 2017.

Novak Djokovic hits a return against Belgium’s David Goffin in their men’s singles semi-final match. PHOTO: AFP