Djokovic, Nishikori to meet in semifinals

Djokovic, Nishikori to meet in semifinals

NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
Djokovic, Nishikori to meet in semifinals

Novak Djokovic, the winner of the 2011 US Open, will face Japanese hot shot Kei Nishikori in the men’s semifinals at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. AP Photo

Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray to set up a US Open semi-final clash against Kei Nishikori who became Japan's first semi-finalist in almost a century on Sept. 3.

World number one Djokovic reached his eighth consecutive US Open semi-final by downing Murray 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (1/7), 6-2, 6-4 for his 13th win in 21 meetings against his childhood rival who had taken the 2012 title.

Nishikori had earlier needed more than four hours to defeat third seed Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 to become the first Japanese man in the semi-finals in 96 years.

Djokovic and Murray had spent a record-equaling 4 hours 54 minutes contesting the 2012 final and their quarterfinal clash threatened to surpass that mark when they needed over two hours to get through the first two sets of a tie that started on Sept. 3 and finished yesterday.

By the end, however, Murray was struggling with what appeared to be a recurrence of his long-standing back problem, a legacy of having spent three and a half hours more on court than Djokovic in getting to this stage.

"We both gave our best and at times the tennis was not nice but that was due to the intense physical battle in the first two sets," said Djokovic.

"I didn't expect anything less from Andy. Our last few matches have been three and four hours and he has a lot of quality on all sorts of surfaces.

"I knew it would be a tough match and that the more aggressive player would win."

Djokovic and Nishikori are 1-1 in career meetings but their last clash was three years ago.

"It's great for Kei and Japan for him to be in the semifinal. He serves and moves very well," said the world number one.

Serena to face Makarova

In the women’s competition, Serena Williams roared back from an early deficit to defeat Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-2 and book a US Open semifinal clash with Ekaterina Makarova.

Playing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final of 2014, world number one Williams kept her bid for a third-straight US Open title -- and sixth overall -- alive as she stretched her perfect record over the 11th-seeded Italian to 6-0.

“I’m just so happy to have won,” the 17-time Grand Slam champion said, noting that she’d had a tough year. “It feels so special to be back in a semifinal, especially in New York.”

In Makarova she’ll face a first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist.

The 17th-seeded Russian advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over former world number one Victoria Azarenka -- runner-up to Williams the past two years.

“I’m feeling amazing - finally I’m in a semi-final,” said the Russian left-hander, who had failed in four prior major quarterfinals. “It’s a great feeling.”