Novak Djokovic eases into Australian Open semi-finals as Kei Nishikori retires

Press Association Sport 14:09 23/01/2019
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Novak Djokovic was given an easy passage through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open when opponent Kei Nishikori retired.

The eighth seed had come through three five-set matches, including a five-hour epic against Pablo Carreno Busta in the previous round, and was struggling from the start.

He received treatment to his right thigh at the end of the first set but, after going 6-1 4-1 down, Nishikori shook his head and then the hand of Djokovic.

The world number one said: “I love to battle, especially against Kei, we’ve played so many matches.

“I hope he can recover, I hope it’s not something that is very serious. I’m sorry for everybody for not having a full match tonight.”

Djokovic had endured his own physical battle against Daniil Medvedev on Monday and admitted afterwards that he was feeling the effects.

“This is exactly what the doctor ordered,” he said, “Not to spend too much time on the court. I’m in another semi-final and I’ll do everything to get ready for that one.”

Meanwhile Lucas Pouille reached his first grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open with a four-set upset of Milos Raonic.

Pouille, the 28th seed, had lost in the first round on his five previous visits to Melbourne but his 7-6(4) 6-3 6-7(2) 6-4 victory over big-serving Canadian Raonic was the latest in a series of strong performances this week.

He recovered from a break down to win the opening set, his first in four meetings with Raonic, and put the loss of the third set aside to come through strongly.

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