London, June 22 (IANS) Serbia’s Novak Djokovic showed more signs of returning to a championship level, brushing aside fifth-ranked Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the Queen’s Club Championships, a Wimbledon tune-up event.
Djokovic, a 12-time Grand Slam champion who missed the latter part of last season with an elbow injury but has made strides toward his best level in recent weeks, had the edge from the baseline throughout and waited for chances against the Bulgarian’s serve.
That opportunity came in the 10th game of the match, when Dimitrov faced three set points when serving at 4-5 and then lost the opener with a double fault at 30-40.
The contest on Thursday then rapidly slipped away from the No. 2 seed in the second set, with Djokovic securing two more service breaks en route to the easy victory in just one hour and six minutes, Efe news reported.
“I’m still kind of finding my form,” the 31-year-old Djokovic, who is seeking his first Queen’s Club title, was quoted as saying on the ATP World Tour’s Web site. “This was a great test, playing against one of the top players in the world, a player that I guess prefers this surface the most.”
For the 22nd-ranked Serb, who entered the tournament as a wildcard, Thursday’s win was his first over a top-five player since January 2017.
Djokovic will next square off in the quarter-finals against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who defeated countryman Julien Benneteau 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 on Thursday.
The Serbian is trying to get his game into form in time for Wimbledon, which gets under way on July 2.
Djokovic is a three-time champion at the All England Club, with his most recent title coming in 2015.