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  • Djokovic picks up the pace to reach Monte-Carlo semis

    4/19/13 6:53 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Djokovic picks up the pace to reach Monte-Carlo semis Novak Djokovic wins in straight sets for the first time this week in Monte-Carlos as he beats Jarkko Nieminen during quarterfinal action on Friday. Next up for Djokovic is Fabio Fognini.

    Novak Djokovic's slow start lasted only two games this time.

    Djokovic, who needed three sets to win each of his first two matches at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, rolled through a quarterfinal clash against Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-3 to cap off Friday's action. The world No. 1 broke serve six times as he advanced in one hour and 17 minutes.

    Coming off two consecutive victories in third-set tiebreakers over Milos Raonic and Juan Martin Del Potro, a confident Nieminen came out firing in this one. The 31-year-old Finn survived five deuces and three break points in the opening game of the match before earning a scalp of his opponent's serve for 2-0.

    If more questions about Djokovic's ankle were surfacing, however, the world No. 1 quickly put them to rest. Djokovic seized breaks of his own in the third and ninth games then served out the opener without much trouble at 5-4.

    The top-seeded Serb was off to the races as he broke twice more en route to a commanding 3-0 advantage in set two. Nieminen, though, was not about to end his impressive Monte-Carlo run without a fight. The world No. 49 broke back for 1-3 and eventually for 3-5 as well, but he had a terrible time on his own serve. Djokovic's sixth break of the match wrapped up the proceedings in style and he clinched his first match point when Nieminen struck an errant backhand.

    Next on the schedule for the 2012 runner-up is unseeded Fabio Fognini, who ousted Richard Gasquet in straight sets. Djokovic is 4-0 lifetime against the Italian.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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