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MONTREAL, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic laid down an early marker ahead of the U.S Open when he produced what he described "as close to perfection" as he could be in the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup on Friday.
The world number one was imperious in a 6-1 6-2 thumping of Frenchman Richard Gasquet as he blasted winners from all over the court in an eye-catching performance that should serve as a reminder to his rivals for the Flushing Meadows title.
"In every part of my game I was at my best," Djokovic said after taking just 52 minutes to humble the world number nine. "From the start of the match I tried to dictate the play on the court and be in control of the rallies. I did it really well.
"As close to perfection as you can be really."
Djokovic will face his long time rival Rafa Nadal in the semi-finals after the Spaniard was equally as emphatic on the scoreboard and not far off in performance in a convincing straight sets win over Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic.
Nadal beat Djokovic 9-7 in the fifth set of an epic French Open semi-final in two months ago but in this type of mood, even he may find the Serbian difficult to contain.
"Hard court is my most preferred surface. I feel that that's maybe the place where I have more chances against him (Nadal) than on clay definitely," Djokovic said.
"Of course it's going to be a huge challenge for both of us, but I'll be ready for it."
A Nadal-Djokovic match is a worthy final on any surface and the pair have plenty of history when it comes to battling for silverware.
Nadal leads their head-to-head 20-15 and before this year's French Open, their previous last 11 meetings had been in finals, four of which had been on hard courts all won by Djokovic.
"The conditions here are probably more favorable for him," Nadal acknowledged after his quarter-final.
"Yes, we are playing on hard, but especially the conditions here. It's one of the fastest courts of the hardcourt tournaments outdoors.
"Maybe that makes him a little bit more the favourite." (Editing by Greg Stutchbury)