March 14 (Reuters) - Serbia’s Novak Djokovic cruised into the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Friday with a straight-sets win over Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
Djokovic hardly raised a sweat as he eased to a 6-1 6-3 victory in their quarter-final clash in the Californian desert.
Djokovic was not at his absolute best but was never in any real danger against his older opponent.
The 26-year-old Serbian raced through the opening set with two service breaks and four aces despite the windy conditions and an approaching sand storm.
The first six games of the second set all went with serve before Djokovic reeled off the last three in a row to seal a comfortable victory in less than 70 minutes.
He broke Benneteau for a 4-3 lead when the Frenchman double faulted then again to wrap up the win when his opponent hit a forehand long and wide.
“It’s never too easy,” said Djokovic, who won the Indian Wells title in 2008 and 2011.
“The scoreline says it was straight sets... but I had to stay focused because I knew Julien beat some good players in this tournament.”
Djokovic’s opponent in Saturday’s semi-finals will be either American John Isner or Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis, who were due to play their quarter-final later on Friday.
Saturday’s other semi-final will be between Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, who won their quarters on Thursday. (Reporting by Julian Linden in New York,; editing by Gene Cherry)