By Ros Satar, in Madrid
- Novak Djokovic  v Kei Nishikori  – H2H: Djokovic leads 7-2
- Kei Nishikori def. Nick Kyrgios 67(6) 76(1) 63
- Novak Djokovic def. Milos Raonic  63 64
MADRID, SPAIN – Can Kei Nishikori stop Novak Djokovic’s dominance this season as he bids to make a second Madrid Masters final?
Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
Nishikori had to dig deep against an impressive Nick Kyrgios to keeps his hopes of reaching a second Madrid final alive. He came within two points of crashing out of the tournament as he struggled to find a way through the Kyrgios serve.
With just one break point opportunity each in the first set, before Kyrgios fought from behind to nab the first set, and just two chances for Nishikori in the opening game of the second set before the pair battled to a second tie-break.
Pushing the match to a decider, Nishikori looked the brighter of the pair, breaking for a lead and putting the Aussie under more pressure on his next service game.
Kyrgios tried a rallying call to level in the final set, but crucially could not convert on the three chances. His fighting spirit was not quite done, saving three match points before finally Nishikori’s patience was rewarded with a place in the semi-final.
He said, after the match: “I think it was a great match. Played very high level, both of us. I think he served really well. Even though I have many opportunity first and second set, many breakpoints, I couldn’t convert.
“If I could play better those important point maybe I could finish two sets. It was tough two tiebreak, but I tried to play maybe little more aggressive in second set. Third set I think I return little better. I see his serve little better. Very happy to win today.”
Djokovic certainly looked to have raised his level against the big serving Canadian Milos Raonic, returning solidly and looked in control throughout. It was just a single break point that made the difference in the first set, with the Canadian having held firm throughout.
The second set was a different matter as Djokovic slid through the gears again, breaking Raonic right at the start, but the Canadian had a few more chances on the Djokovic serve, but could not convert. He save one match point on his own serve, and even had a chance to break back before Djokovic made good on his fourth match point .
After the match he said: ““I returned exceptionally well. I thought I didn’t do too many things wrong. Very, very pleased with the performance. When I was in trouble I came up with good serves, good forehands. Maybe could have capitalised on the opportunities early in the second set to go double break, but credit to him for fighting, for being aggressive.”
Of course he faces a very different prospect playing Nishikori. Not possessed of the more traditional weapons, the Japanese player excels in his use of angles and speed around the court, and this could be a far better of Djokovic than we have seen so far this week.
He continued: “[Nishikori] doesn’t serve as big as Milos, that’s for sure. He’s much quicker around the court and he’s got a very aggressive, very good game for these kind of conditions. He played couple years ago I think finals here. He dug himself out of the trouble against Fognini and Kyrgios today. He’s experienced player. He’s been on the big stage and has been part of the big matches so many times.
“I’ll try to obviously take away the time from him because I know that he likes to stay close to the line and dictate the play. I’ll try to mix up the pace and prepare myself well.”
Interactive Draw & Results – Click for Scores
Djokovic and Nishikori are scheduled on Court Manolo Santana, not before 8pm (7pm BST).
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