Novak Djokovic is now just two matches from returning to the Australian Open final for the first time since 2016. The six-time champion will play Kei Nishikori for a spot in the semi finals, where either Lucas Pouille or Milos Raonic awaits. Djokovic will be favourite regardless but Nishikori would certainly be eyeing the final if he picks up the shock win this time round. It’s a matchup that Djokovic has found a lot of joy in previously, leading the head to head 15-2. Check out the Djokovic vs Nishikori H2H stats.
Nishikori can count himself fortunate to be in the tournament still, having been down two sets and a break to Pablo Carreno Busta in the previous round. He was also 8-5 down in the final set tiebreaker before reeling off five straight points to move on in a match lasting over five hours. “Maybe I changed my tennis and a little bit of tactics, but yeah, started getting more confidence from the third set and start playing better.” Nishikori said afterwards, pleased to be in his fourth Australian Open quarter final.
Djokovic had a stern test from Daniil Medvedev in round four, taking the match 6-4 6-7 6-2 6-3 to make it to the last 8. It was a dogged affair with both players looking to be feeling effects as the match dragged on. A single break in the fourth set was all Djokovic needed to avoid being dragged into something far more dangerous against a confident opponent. However, he was in a joking mood following the match in regards to his condition. “Since my next opponent is watching, I feel fantastic – I’ve never felt fresher in my life.” he said. “I didn’t feel so great in the last 20 minutes of the match or so. We’ll see tomorrow how the body reacts, but I’m confident I can recover, and I can be ready for next one.
Djokovic went 4-0 last year against Nishikori, including a crushing victory at the US Open on his way to the final. It’s hard to see anything other than a repeat, especially with a tired Nishikori having to bounce back from yet another fifth set tiebreak in the previous round.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets