Novak Djokovic defeated Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday evening in 2:07hours.
Novak was in cruise control from the very beginning. After easing into a two-set lead, the defending champion was made to work a little harder in the third. The players had traded breaks twice before Djokovic made a crucial break in the seventh game and consolidated it for 5-3 lead. He served it out two games later.
This time he made only 27 unforced errors, instead of 100 like in the match vs Simon:
“That was the goal, to decrease the unforced errors ratio,” Djokovic said. “I’ve done that. I knew that I’m going to play against an opponent that plays very fast – faster than Simon – that makes also more unforced errors.
“I tried to weather the storm, hang in there. He came up and played first couple games very fast, very quick. Took the ball early, being very aggressive from both corners. I expected that.”
“I was solid. I was determined, focused. In important points and moments I managed to stay composed and make him play an extra shot. Overall it was a very solid performance.”
Nole about why he didn´t practice the day before: “I’ve had previously these situations before. As I said on the court, less is more sometimes. You need to recognise the moment. I’ve played a lot of tennis – maybe even too much. There was no concern for me that I would not feel the ball today. It was about getting recovery – physically, mentally – just being able to step out on the court today feeling fresh and having that intensity. I think it was the right decision.”
Match statistics: aces (6-9), double faults (2-4), winners (22-31), unforced errors (27-54), total points won (99-74).
Novak and Roger will meet for the 45th time in a highly-anticipated Australian Open semis on Thursday at 19:30 local time (09:30 CET). They are tied 22-22 in ATP H2H. Nole said: “It seems like half of my career match-ups are with him. It’s always a great challenge. I have so much respect for him.”
“It does feel good, I must say, to level the head-to-head. I did go through my moments, periods of my career, where I was doubting myself, not knowing really if I can manage to get to No. 1 and achieve the childhood dream, break the dominance of these two guys. Of course, I’ve been through those moments. But those moments made me tougher.”
“You know, Roger is playing really terrific tennis in last two years,” Djokovic said. “We played two Grand Slam finals last year. I know very well how good he plays, especially in the later stages of a major event. He always makes you play your best. My best is what is going to be necessary to win against him.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to deliver.”