Djokovic leads old guard at Wimbledon

Darren Walton
Novak Djokovic has powered into the last four of Wimbledon with an easy win over David Goffin

Defending champion Novak Djokovic offered short shrift to tennis's grand slam pretenders after the sport's big three advanced to the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time in 12 years.

Djokovic pulled himself together after a shaky start to sweep past David Goffin in straight sets and qualify for the final four at the All England Club for the ninth time.

Eight-times champion Roger Federer, dual winner Rafael Nadal and Spaniard Roberto Baustista Agut joined Djokovic in the penultimate round with impressive quarter-final victories over their own on Wednesday.

All the hype for young guns Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov amounted to nothing as four thirty-something veterans filled the semi-final slots once again.

"I'm just glad to be one of the guys who is 30-plus and to be still in that group," Djokovic said after his 6-4 6-0 6-2 win over Goffin.

"Don't ask me more questions about young tennis players, when is their time to come up, because we've talked about it.

"I said that eventually it is going to happen. It doesn't seem like it's happening (at) grand slams.

"I guess this is where, especially Nadal, Federer, and myself, in a way we go onto next level in terms of tennis and focus.

"We're very dedicated to these tournaments. In particular at this stage of all of our careers, this is what matters the most for us."

Djokovic was only concerned about his own progression after taking another giant stride towards matching Bjorn Borg's five titles on London's hallowed grass courts with an ultimately emphatic quarter-final performance.

The world No.1 buried his head in his towel after dropping serve to fall behind 4-3 in the opening set before emerging a different player and reeling off 10 consecutive games to seize full command.

Goffin stemmed the flow to hold for 1-1 in the third set, but the reprieve proved merely a stay of execution for the Belgian as Djokovic broke him twice more to seal victory after one hour and 57 minutes.

"Very pleased with the performance," Djokovic said.

"This match could have gone different way. I was break down. He was the better player for most of the first set, but I managed to turn things around.

"I've played as good as I've played entire tournament.

"It's exactly what I wanted and what I needed and hopefully I can keep going in the right direction."

The top seed will play Bautista Agut on Friday for a spot in Sunday's final after the world No.21 beat Argentine Guido Pella 7-5 6-4 3-6 6-3 to gatecrash the last four at a major for the first time.

Djokovic's nine Wimbledon semi-finals appearances equals that of his former coach Boris Becker and eclipses the eight of legends Pete Sampras and John McEnroe.

Only Federer, who eliminated eighth seed Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4 for his 13th Wimbledon quarter-final triumph, and Jimmy Connors (11) have featured in more semi-finals.

All up, Djokovic will be contesting his 36th grand slam semi - also second only behind Federer's 45 - as he strives to make his 25th major final.

If he does, Djokovic will run into a familiar foe in the title match after Nadal set up a 40th instalment of his epic rivalry with Federer with a 7-5 6-2 6-2 victory over American Sam Querrey.