Wimbledon 2018: ‘Different’ Novak Djokovic books his place in the final four

Kristopher Nichols
July 14, 2018

Novak Djokovic was kept waiting in the wings till after 7pm local time before he could start swinging his racket against Russia's Karen Khachanov at Wimbledon on Monday.

A tight third set turned in Djokovic's favour as Nishikori went wide and that was enough for the fired-up three-time champion to edge back in front as he served into a 2-1 lead.

Djokovic hasn't made a Grand Slam semifinal since the 2016 US Open (when he lost in the finals). Djokovic saved three break points in the fifth game of the third and made the Japanese star pay by breaking for 4-2 and an eventual two sets to one lead.

Djokovic, who will be competing in his 41st Grand Slam quarter, had far more joy in the second and third sets as he held throughout. "Maybe I don't have good results or good record with him, but I always enjoy playing him".

Elsewhere in the men's bracket, Novak Djokovic has had a lot of ups and downs over the past few years, but he's back in the semifinal of a Grand Slam.

The fifth game of the third set was nearly a mirror of the third game of the second - which Nishikori had held despite three break points. I know, as everything in life, we are evolving. Early on he was bothered by the glare off the sun, adjusting his serve and then sporting a cap.

Eight-time champion Roger Federer was sensationally knocked out by South African giant Kevin Anderson while Rafael Nadal edged Juan Martin del Potro in a Centre Court epic and will meet Djokovic in the semifinals.

Nishikori initially stayed with his opponent and hit back in another superb game - but a wild backhand late on handed Djokovic the first set.

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'I didn't harm the grass.

"I was really glad to play Queen's and to get five matches there".

Djokovic is through to his eighth Wimbledon semi-final, an achievement bettered by only three players in the Open Era.

'I feel like I'm peaking at the right moment.

If Anderson is to shock Federer, who has only lost once before the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 15 years, he will need to call up the heavy artillery which has served him well at the tournament this year. "His consistency, the way he plays such great tennis week in and week out", said Anderson.

After the match, Djokovic admitted his frustration at Ramos's decision, while pointing out that Nishikori did exactly the same thing in the fourth set.

"I want to use today's result as a spring from which to aim for a final place". "By the end I thought I did a great job. In the midst of emotions in a tough match, it happens".

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