In a tennis season that’s losing major players like Roger Federer, top-ranked Novak Djokovic is proving to be a reliable force to be reckoned with after defeating 10th-seeded Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday night to reach the Rogers Cup final and improve to 12-0 against the Frenchman.
“You do have a certain mental comfort knowing that you have had plenty of success against your opponent,” Djokovic said. “Nevertheless, that is not a certainty. That’s not a guarantee that you can win the match. Actually, it actually makes him more eager to come out and play his best tennis.”
The winner in 2007, 2011 and 2012 in the hardcourt event that rotates between Toronto and Montreal, Djokovic will face third-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan on Sunday. Nishikori beat second-seeded Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6 (6), 6-1 in the first semifinal.
Djokovic is trying to win a record 30th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. The 29-year-old Serb has six victories this year and 65 in his career. He has 12 Grand Slam titles, winning this year in Australia and France.
Monfils was coming off a victory last week in Washington.
“I guess he missed a few shots at the beginning. I got some opportunities, and I took them,” Monfils said. “And then suddenly he was not missing anymore. He was going for his shots and being much better in the rallies. He became super solid. When Novak is playing like that, it’s very tough to beat him.”
Djokovic had six double-faults and one ace.
“I’ve been working on my serve a lot the last couple of years, and I think especially on the second serve it has given me an advantage, more depth on the second serve and so forth,” Djokovic said. “In this tournament, it is not working very well, but in general in past couple of years it has served me very well.”
Nishikori took his fourth straight Memphis title in February for his 11th ATP Tour victory. He has lost his last eight matches with Djokovic, the last loss in the Key Biscayne final in April, and is 2-9 overall.
“Haven’t beat Novak for a long time on hard court,” Nishikori said. “I think it’s going to be a great challenge for me to play Novak again in the final because we played in Miami and he dominated the game. So, I hope I can get revenge this time.”
In the doubles semifinals, Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares beat Canada’s Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-7 (5), 10-7, and Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Brazil’s Marcelo Melo topped Romania’s Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau 6-4, 6-3.