Novak Djokovic struggled with a determined Australian battler but survived 7-5, 6-4 on Friday into the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters as he bids for his first trophy here in nine years.

The world No. 1 Serb who has yet to lift a title this season claimed his second career honour in the principality in 2015; he was playing his first quarter-final at the event in half a decade as he beat Alex de Minaur.

The 36-year-old Serb has won a table-leading 40 Masters titles from 58 finals in the elite series.; De Minaur was the first Aussie to get this far at the clay classic since Mark Philippoussis 25 years ago.

Djokovic needed four set points over two games to lift the opening set, breaking his opponent to claim the lead. 

The pair traded six straight breaks of serve in the roller-coaster second set before the top seed closed it out after just over two hours.

“It was tough for both of us. He is one of the quickest players on Tour,” Djokovic said after reaching a record 77th semi-final at a Masters.

“He gets a lot of balls back that normally 99 per cent of other players don’t.

” We didn’t play at the high level and made a lot of unforced errors, him and I, and a lot of breaks of serve. 

“It’s kind of expected on clay but maybe not this many. But a win is a win and I am happy to be through.”

Djokovic added: “I’m very happy to be back in the semis, it’s been a while.

“I’ve been training at this club for many years. The past seven, eight years has been tough for me to win seven or eight matches consecutively, but here we are, another semis.”

Main photo:- Novak Djokovic celebrates victory in Monte Carlo by ISF Ltd