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Djokovic joins 800-win club with Queen's masterclass

© AFP | Novak Djokovic beat Adrian Mannarino at Queen's to secure his 800th career win

LONDON (AFP) - 

Novak Djokovic joined the 800-win club as the former world number one moved into the Queen's Club semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Adrian Mannarino on Friday.

Djokovic took just 78 minutes to crush Mannarino at the Wimbledon warm-up event, in the process becoming the 10th player in the Open era to reach 800 match wins.

The 31-year-old will play France's Jeremy Chardy or American youngster Frances Tiafoe in the last four as he bids for his second Queen's final appearance.

If Djokovic wins the semi-final and goes onto take the Queen's title for the first time, he will pass Stefan Edberg into ninth place on the all-time wins list.

Jimmy Connors is on top of the elite 800-win group with 1,256 wins ahead of second placed Roger Federer, who has 1,156.

Djokovic is through to only his second semi-final of a troubled campaign as he hunts his first title in 2018.

He is a lowly 22nd in the rankings after an embarrassing French Open quarter-final defeat against Italian journeyman Marco Cecchinato.

Hampered by an elbow injury last year, Djokovic has failed to reach the semi-finals in any of his last five Grand Slam appearances.

Djokovic hasn't earned a major title since competing his career Grand Slam by winning the 2016 French Open.

Dogged by rumours that he no longer has the motivation to return to the top, the 12-time Grand Slam winner decided to start his bid for a fourth Wimbledon crown by accepting a Queen's wild card.

With Wimbledon starting on July 2, Djokovic is slowly getting back in the groove.

Djokovic had lost just eight games in his first two Queen's matches, demolishing Grigor Dimitrov in the second round to claim his first win over a top 10 player since May 2017.

A wobbly start against Mannarino could have squandered the momentum from those wins and Djokovic shrieked in frustration when a wayward forehand gifted the world number 26 a break in the third game of the first set.

But Djokovic found his rhythm and converted his sixth break point to level at 4-4.

From 4-2 down, Djokovic had wrestled the initiative from Mannarino and another break secured the first set.

The second set was a procession as Djokovic overwhelmed Mannarino from the baseline with a series of searing winners.

© 2018 AFP