Madrid Open: Novak Djokovic Enters Semis After Kei Nishikori Withdrawal

Solenn Plantier
Mai 15, 2017

On the men's side, it was another categorical win for Nadal in what has been a superb season for the fifth-ranked Spaniard, who will be trying to win his third straight title on Sunday.

Djokovic had won his last 15 sets stretching back to the 2014 French Open final against the 14-time Grand Slam champion. In Barcelona final a few weeks ago, he couldn't keep the pace with Nadal after the closing stages of the opening set but he was unbelievable today, chasing Nadal in literally every point and staying in contention for nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes before he finally had to lay his weapons.

"I will plan to play Rome, but we'll see." said the Japanese. I lost a lot of times in a row.

Nadal had easily defeated Thiem in Barcelona, losing only five games in a two-set victory, but was forced to work a lot harder on Sunday.

And eventually it was Nadal who prevailed with his fifth set point when Thiem fired long.

The Spaniard looks in ominous form with just over two weeks to go till the start of the French Open as he stretched his flawless record on clay this season to 14-0 with a dominant display.

Djokovic is now in Nadal's sights in the ATP rankings, this win putting him in sight of the world number two - who he beat in Saturday's semi-final.

Novak Djokovic moved into the semi-finals of the Madrid Masters on Friday without hitting a ball as Kei Nishikori withdrew citing the recurrence of a wrist injury, tournament organisers said.

He blamed his elimination mostly on Nadal's good form.

"As I go along, I hope to continue getting better and getting stronger". And in his first clay-court tournament of the year, in Monte Carlo, Djokovic was eliminated by David Goffin in the quarterfinals. The 23-year-old Austrian had gone 0-4 in his previous Masters 1000 quarter-finals prior to this week, but broke the streak on Friday against lucky loser and #NextGenATP Croatian Borna Coric.

"It was a good fight out there".

"Rafa was obviously a better player today", said Djokovic.

Victory also ensured Nadal closes the gap on Djokovic's lead in their head-to-head record to 26-24.

But the return to contention of Federer and Nadal is also probably what has pushed Djokovic to make the changes needed to overcome the latest challenge in his career.

Nadal, who was out for much of past year because of a wrist injury, has won 30 of his last 32 sets going into the tournament in Rome this week.

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