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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, June 29, 2017

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic denied two set points defeating Donald Young, 6-2, 7-6 (9) to reach the Eastbourne semifinals.

Photo credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty

Novak Djokovic has spent time as a spectator at Eastbourne this week watching outer-court matches.

The top-seeded Serbian got back to business as a player advancing to the Aegon International Eastbourne semifinals for the first time.

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Djokovic denied two set points defeating Donald Young, 6-2, 7-6 (9).

"I enjoyed it, especially in the second set," Djokovic said. "The first set went my way and I played good. Felt good on the court. Had some break point opportunities early in the second set. Haven't capitalized on those. I think Donald started playing with less unforced errors, putting more variety, you know, using his forehand very well from all over the court.

"He served for the set, had a set point, had set point in the tiebreak. It was very close second set. Obviously 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. You know, this is the kind of match situations that I was looking forward to have, and I'm glad it happened today and managed to overcome that."

The 12-time Grand Slam champion raised his record to 26-7 reaching his fourth semifinal in nine tournaments this season.

The 30-year-old Djokovic will play Daniil Medvedev for a spot in Saturday's final.

The 52nd-ranked Russian beat American Steve Johnson, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

Facing the left-handed American for the first time since he defeated Young at the 2006 US Open, Djokovic made a strong start before stumbling a bit in the second set.

The wild card won 16 of 19 points played on his serve and broke twice breezing to a one-set lead.

Whipping his slider serve wide, Young effectively set up first-strike forehands in the second set.

The 47th-ranked Young broke for the only time in the ninth game then served for the set at 5-4 and earned his first set point, but could not close as he sent a forehand long.

In the tie break, Young fired a forehand winner down the line for 4-3. Picking on his opponent’s forehand, Young drained an error for 5-3 then bent low to rifle a backhand pass crosscourt for a second set point at 6-5.

Djokovic pumped a 117 mph serve to erase the set point.

On Djokovic’s first match point at 7-6, he netted his two-handed backhand, which was his most reliable shot in the set. Young hammered a forehand winner to save a second match point, leveling at 8-all.

Djokovic narrowly missed the mark on a backhand down the line on his third match point, but got some help as Young hit his third double fault handing his opponent a fourth match point.

This time, Djokovic sealed the deal with a wide slice serve, closing a 95-minute victory. Djokovic hit 18 winners and 15 unforced errors, 10 few errors than Young.

New coach Andre Agassi is not in Eastbourne this week, but will join Djokovic at Wimbledon. Djokovic said Agassi watches his matches on television and the pair talk almost daily.

"Even though when we are a distance from each other or not together, we still keep the communication on more or less daily basis," Djokovic said of Agassi. "He shares his thoughts. He obviously wants me to share what I feel and how I see things. It's still quite early in the relationship, so we are still getting to know each other, getting a sense of how we go about tennis, about life, and what are our perspectives and analysis of the match.

"But so far we have managed to connect very quickly. That's the great thing."

Playing his first Wimbledon warm-up tournament in seven years, Djokovic is now two wins away from his first title since January when he beat world No. 1 Andy Murray to win his 67th career title in Doha.

No. 2-seeded Gael Monfils swept British wild card Cameron Norrie, 6-3, 6-2.

Third-seeded John Isner smacked 27 aces in a 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) comeback win over Dusan Lajovic.

Second seed Gael Monfils dispatched Briton Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-2 while number three John Isner staged a comeback to defeat Dusan Lajovic 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4).


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