After serving his way to a 2-1 lead in the third set, Djokovic ramped up his efforts and was met head-on with Nishikori’s increase in tempo, but the No. 24 seed missed three break points at 2-2 and was soon trailing.
He has overcome motivation and physical issues and is happy with where he is heading, with a semi-final meeting against Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard finished with 67 winners to 34 unforced errors as he displayed his credentials as he bids to lift a third singles title at the All England Club.
Novak Djokovic felt he was a different player to the Wimbledon victor of old but comparisons were inevitable on Wednesday as the Serb rolled into the semi-finals for the first time since 2015.
Novak Djokovic is being fuelled by indignation. “The opponent that is coming one of the toughest. I just kept telling myself this will be my day”. “I need to find that something”.
“It’s starting to come together for me”.
Now ranked only 21st in the world, with his career stalling since his 12th Grand Slam title at the 2016 French Open, last year’s Wimbledon saw him retire in the quarter-finals with a season-ending elbow injury. Beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon is one I will remember.
“I want to use today’s result as a spring from which to aim for a final place”. You could feel Djokovic’s rage slowly building, bubbling nicely, but he managed to keep it in check to close out the match.
“I just asked him whether he thought honestly that I damaged the court with the racket that I throw”. Nishikori held a 10-minute game to start the second set and then saved three break points in his next service game as Djokovic looked to build on his advantage. The 2017 U.S. Open runner-up triumphed in four hours and 14 minutes.
“I had moments where I was great, I felt like I was reading his serve, other moments where I don’t know where the hell I was moving to”. It was the first time he played a fourth set at Wimbledon since 2016 against Milos Raonic. “Hopefully I can maintain that”. I think confidence is back for him.
But the second seed stayed alive by taking the fourth set before the gripping drama continued in an electrifying deciding set in which both players were left diving after volleys and slipping over as they chased after blinding winners.
“He was pumping himself up”. I’m sure he’s in good shape again.
Djokovic cruised past Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-2 6-2 on Monday, marking the second straight major at which he has reached the quarter-finals.
Seeded 12, Wednesday will Djokovic’s 41st appearance in a Grand Slam quarter-final.