World number one Novak Djokovic continued his dominant form in Tokyo to storm past Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-1, 6-2 and into the semi-finals of the Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo on Friday.
Serbian Djokovic has served with ruthless efficiency in his previous two matches and more of the same was on display as the 32-year-old fired eight aces and won 82% of points on his first serve to swat aside fifth seed Pouille in 50 minutes.
Up next for the 16-times Grand Slam champion, who has yet to drop a set in his first Japan Open, is 2017 winner David Goffin or Chung Hyeon, who are in action later.
Djokovic is playing in his first tournament since retiring from his US Open fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka because of a problem with his left shoulder.
He has now reached at least the semi-finals in six of his past seven tournaments going back to the Madrid Open in May.
Big-serving American Reilly Opelka ended local favourite Yasutaka Uchiyama's hopes of a maiden ATP Tour semi-final appearance with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over the qualifier.
Opelka, who won his first title at the New York Open in February, next takes on Australian qualifier John Millman in what will be their first career meeting.
Millman eased past Japan's Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-0.
Thiem tames Murray to reach China Open semis
Top seed Dominic Thiem held off a spirited display from Britain’s Andy Murray in a 6-2, 7-6(3) victory to reach the China Open semi-finals in Beijing on Friday.
Austrian Thiem was off to a flying start as he broke serve in a 14-point opening game, and did so again to move 4-2 up before closing out the first set.
Thiem failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set as he hit three double faults in four points to allow Murray to draw level.
Former world number one Murray, playing his first quarter-final in over a year following a career-saving hip surgery in January, forced the second set into tiebreak but Thiem soon rediscovered his rhythm.
Thiem won five of the first six points in the tiebreak before securing a place in his seventh Tour-level semi-final of the season.
“I was a little bit unsure kind of how to go about the match at the beginning... I was feeling a little bit tired this morning,” Murray said.
“We talked about maybe, ‘If you are feeling that way, try to finish off some of the points’… I wasn’t that happy with the way I went about the match after the first game."
“I went a bit off track there at first, in terms of how I was playing. The week overall was good.”
Should Thiem overcome Karen Khachanov in Beijing on Saturday, the 26-year-old will qualify for the season-ending ATP Tour Finals to be held in London from Nov. 10-17.
Alexander Zverev continued his steady progress this week with a 7-6(3), 6-2 win over American Sam Querrey.
From 2-2 in the second set, Zverev reeled off four consecutive games to set up a semi-final showdown with Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Third seed Tsitsipas struck 25 winners and committed just seven unforced errors in a clinical display to beat American John Isner 7-6(3), 6-3.