Wimbledon 2018: Novak Djokovic beats darkness and Karen Khachanov to reach quarterfinals

Grant SmithJul 14, 2018

Three-time champion Djokovic was the first man through to the semi-finals, reaching the last four of a major in more than two years by seeing off Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-2 on Centre Court.

Following the incident, Nishikor - the 24th seed who saved three break points to hold serve at 2-1 in the second set - promptly broke and then held to go 4-1 up.

Djokovic rallied to hold and only lost two more games from that point onward as he advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2016 US Open.

Former world number one Djokovic has a 13-2 winning record against the Japanese player.

When Del Potro sent a forehand rifling down the line to take the third set, it seemed Nadal might be following Federer out of the tournament, but the World No.1 recovered superbly to triumph 7-5 6-7 (7/9) 4-6 6-4 6-4 and keep alive his hopes of an 18th Grand Slam title.

A year ago, officials refused to move Djokovic's match with Adrian Mannarino on to Centre even though the court sat empty, while on Monday they opted to give priority to a mixed doubles encounter once Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal had all swiftly booked their quarter-final berths.

He then failed to convert three crucial break opportunities on Djokovic's serve at 2-2 in the third set, giving away the game and then his next two serves to hand the Serb his second set. During Wimbledon, speaking of the big event that is taking place in Russian Federation, in which his country, Serbia, failed to go beyond the group stages, Djokovic said: 'I support Croatia.

At the start of the second, Djokovic was putting Nishikori under huge pressure again, but the Japanese held firm on serve in a 10-minute game.

It feels great to be in the last four of a Slam. "I'm a different person, different player today".

Djokovic last appeared in the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2015, when he won.

"Anybody who saw the match, saw that literally I kind of touched the grass". Like Djokovic, Nishikori does things on his own terms - he walks between points, scuffing his feet, and on receiving balls ahead of serve, if the distribution was slightly off he would not take a step left nor right to collect it. I don't want to stop here. He made a couple of great shots but I managed to break and get back into the set. I think that these performances here at Wimbledon have been the best I've had in the last 12 months.

"I feel like I'm peaking at the right moment", declared the 12th seeded Serb after joining Americans John McEnroe and Pete Sampras in fourth place on the list of most Wimbledon semi-final appearances in the Open Era.

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