Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, September 30, 2022


Novak Djokovic out-dueled a tenacious Vasek Pospisil 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach his fifth semifinal of the season in Tel Aviv.

Photo credit: Tel Aviv Watergen Open Facebook

A pulsating rally careened corner-to-corner testing the legs and lungs of both players.

It left Vasek Pospisil looking staggered and drove Novak Djokovic to his seat.

More: Andreev and Moutet Nearly Come to Blows at Net

Djokovic plopped down in his court-side seat a game before the changeover, flashing a smile when he realized his error.

The former world No. 1 picked the right time to rise and shine.

Wimbledon winner Djokovic out-dueled Pospisil 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach his 174th career semifinal at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open today.

"What a great fight, what a great match, what a great atmosphere," Djokovic said in his on-court interview. "Thank you very much for contributing to this match today in a great, positive way.

"Vasek is one of my best friends on the tour. For many years, we've known each other. It's never easy playing someone that you respect so much and that you like so much. But we are both competitors, we are both professionals and we both wanted to win the match. You could see that. I think the level of tennis was really high from both players."


A high-quality clash saw Djokovic convert both of his break points and win 16 of 23 points played on Pospisil's second serve.

Still, little separated the top seed and the lucky loser for much of the match. Pospisil pushed forward successfully at times winning 18 of 28 trips to net.

Probing the corners with flatter drives, Djokovic sent a drained Pospisil in pursuit. The former world No. 1 drew a pair of netted forehands to break for a 5-3 second-set lead.

At that point, Pospisil looked physically spent—and Djokovic showed a rare concentration lapse walking over to take a seat before realizing it wasn't yet changeover time.

Serving for the semifinals, Djokovic splashed a smash then slashed his eighth ace for match point.

On a tremendous match point, a tenacious Pospisil refused to give in, making Djokovic work to set up a mid-court forehand. Djokovic spun a forehand crosscourt to cap a fierce fight  in one hour, 53 minutes. Djokovic defeated Pospisil for the sixth time in as many meetings, winning all 13 sets they've played.

Djokovic extended his dominance against Canadians, improved to 30-1 vs. Canadians in Tour-level match with his lone loss to Northern Lights coming to Felix Auger-Aliassime at 2022 Laver Cup in London last weekend.

The 35-year-old Serbian is through to his fifth semifinal of the season where he will face surprise semifinalist Roman Safiullin for a spot in Sunday's final.

World No. 104 Safiullin streaked through eight of the last nine games stopping Arthur Rinderknech 6-4, 6-1, to reach his second ATP semifinal. Safiullin made his maiden semifinal in Marseille last February.

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic took a walkover win into the semfinals as Liam Broady withdrew. The second-seeded Cilic will play 30-year-old Frenchman Constant Lestienne in the semifinals.

The 68th-ranked Lestienne edged fourth-seeded American Maxime Cressy 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(3) withstanding 28 aces from the former UCLA standout for his biggest win.


Latest News