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As if he needs it, another break for Novak Djokovic

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Tsonga watches Djoker lob sail over his head (0:51)

During their quarterfinal match at the US Open, Novak Djokovic draws Jo-Wilfried Tsonga toward the net, then sends a lob to the baseline, and Tsonga can do nothing except watch it sail over his head. (0:51)

NEW YORK -- Finally, after nearly a fortnight of generic coaches and trainers, family and friends, a male player's box finally produced some serious star power.

There were Hugh Jackman and Ben Stiller sitting next to each other Tuesday night in the top row of Novak Djokovic's box. You had to wonder who was more thrilled to meet whom when six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker, Djokovic's coach, introduced himself before the match.

It wasn't the Q-Rating bonanza of Jay Z and Beyonce, who appeared in the box of Serena Williams earlier in the tournament, but it was pretty solid. The best Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could do? Roland Garros tournament director Guy Forget.

What felt like a prizefight at the outset -- this was the 22nd meeting between the two -- quickly devolved into a master-level class in geometry. No. 1-seeded Djokovic was leading 6-3, 6-2 when Tsonga retired abruptly with a left knee injury.

"I came out with the right intensity, the level of my game has raised," Djokovic said. "As tournament progresses, I feel like I'm getting better.

"To have three retirements on the road to the semifinals, I can only wish all my opponents a speedy recovery."

Is Djokovic concerned about the lack of playing time?

"Not really," he said. "At this stage of the season, considering some of my physical issues, this is the scenario that I needed and I wished for. Got a lot of days off, recovered my body. I'm feeling very close to the peak, and that's where I want to be."

Djokovic, thus, advances to a Friday semifinal against another 30-something Frenchman, Gael Monfils.

The 29-year-old Serb, who came into this event a little nicked up, doesn't need any luck -- but he has gotten oodles of it here.

Through five matches, Djokovic has now played a mere nine sets and six games. Only two of his matches have gone the minimum distance of three sets, with a walkover and two retirements.

At the beginning of Djokovic's on-court interview, ESPN's Brad Gilbert wanted to know what exactly was going on.

"You tell me, I don't know," Djokovic responded. "Obviously, I have to say it again. I really wish Jo a quick recovery. This is something I'm sure he didn't wish for."

Djokovic has now won each and every one of his 10 US Open quarterfinal matches, 10 straight Grand Slam quarters overall and 23 of the past 24.

He's also beaten Tsonga in 14 of their past 15 meetings.

There were times when Djokovic, covering the court with an almost disquieting aplomb, could have been mistaken for the flashing, steel-slashing "X-Men" character "Wolverine." Tsonga, the No. 9 seed, played more like the night watchman in "Night at the Museum."

Arthur Ashe Stadium, very close to its capacity of 23,700 spectators, was actually almost hushed at times. All those bodies seem to dampen the swirling sound that has visited matches when the seats are half full.

In those moments, the only sound was the squeaking of Djokovic's sneakers, the sound of impeccable footwork.

Djokovic is acknowledged as the game's finest returner of serve. His instincts and hand-eye coordination are extraordinary. For most of the match, he casually moved Tsonga from side to side, as if for his own amusement.

And no one turns trouble into treasure, defense into offense, quite like Djokovic. With Tsonga serving a 3-4 but facing a break point, Djokovic stretched to hit a running forehand -- for a winner past a stunned Tsonga.

Tsonga came into the match on a serving tear, but went out of the tournament meekly, seeing his serve broken four times in two sets. He double-faulted three times in a single game during the first set and four of five times overall.

Djokovic, noticing that Tsonga's first-serve speed had dropped significantly, knew something was up.

"But I held my concentration well," Djokovic said. "I hung in there and stayed composed."

Based on Andy Murray's superb summer, with wins at Wimbledon and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, some folks have him favored to win this tournament.

Djokovic, for his part, came into this event nursing a "recurring" left wrist injury, but he has found some unexpected time for rest and relaxation in the Grand Slam considered the most grueling of the four.

Two matches short of the title, Djokovic is in a terrific spot, looking like a man poised to win three majors in a season for the third time, following 2011 and 2015.

"I'm hoping that's going to happen again," Djokovic said. "Grand Slams through the history of our sport have been the most prestigious.

"At the end of the day, I'm trying to take every moment with appreciation. I put myself in a position to be two matches away from the title. I'm not taking anything for granted."