LONDON (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic won the battle of grand slam champions by downing
Marin Cilic 6-4 6-4 6-4 on Centre Court to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals on Wednesday.
Top seed Djokovic had not lost a match to the Croat in 12 previous meetings and his unbeaten record never looked in danger against the U.S. Open champion who failed to master the Serb’s precise groundstrokes.
The holder made it into his 27th grand slam semi with his 50th Wimbledon win, only the seventh man to reach that number of victories, and was surely relieved to have an easy time of it.
The Serb had to recover from two sets down in the last 16 against South African Kevin Anderson but his crisp passing shots ensured big-serving ninth seed Cilic never got a look in.
“I didn’t know how my body was going to feel but I was hoping I would play well, which I have done,” said Djokovic, who was playing for the third day running after his contest against Anderson spilled over into a second day.
Djokovic broke in the third game of the first set, the ninth game of the second and the seventh game of the final set to wrap up victory inside two hours on a cool London evening.
The Centre Court roof had been closed for the conclusion of Andy Murray’s win over Vasek Pospisil but the rain relented and it was opened to reveal blue skies for the second match.
It was not only the weather that cleared for Djokovic as he fired his way to a sixth straight Wimbledon semi-final -- only Roger Federer has reached more in a row -- with relative ease.
Cilic, watched by his coach Goran Ivanisevic, was the surprise winner of his first grand slam at Flushing Meadows last year but has failed to reach those heights since.
He made too many unforced errors from the baseline against Djokovic and, although he successfully tried to serve and volley early on, he relied on his booming serve and powerful groundstrokes.
The trouble was that Djokovic outclassed him in both departments and when Cilic tried to mix it up, his dropshots invariably fell short and his volleying eventually went awry.
Djokovic broke Cilic for the first time with a simple volley to go 3-1 up in the opening set and converted his fourth set point when the Croat hit a forehand into the net.
The second set went with serve until Djokovic marched 40-0 ahead and, though Cilic saved one break point with an ace he then netted a sliced backhand to go 5-4 behind.
The final set was all too predictable as Djokovic went 4-3 ahead when Cilic hit a forehand long at 40-15 down and the Serb closed it out on his second match point in similar fashion.
Reporting by Ken Ferris, editing by Pritha Sarkar