Novak Djokovic had to work again in Doha. Following a tough 3-set win over Marton Fucsovics yesterday, the World No. 1 once again dropped the opening set and before coming back the big-hitting Nikolaz Basilashvili for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
“I thought Basilashvili was playing terrific from the beginning. I expected him to,” said Djokovic. “I knew that he’s playing probably the tennis of his life in the past 10 months, and he’s definitely one of the greatest hitters in the game.”
“I feel I have a gear or two up still. I can still get to one or two levels up, but I thought under the circumstances I managed to find a way to win against a player that is hitting the ball very fast and just being very aggressive,” he added. “It’s hard to predict where the ball is going to go with a player like him.
“So you kind of have to be alert at the same time when the chances present, to take control. Easier said than done because he was really hitting the ball fast from back of the court, so he was not giving me a lot of time to manipulate, maneuver from back of the court. So many times I found myself in defense. I managed to get a win, which is what matters.”
Djokovic has now won 38 of his last 41 matches, and 13 straight in Doha. Next will not be Stan Wawrinka, but rather his conqueror Roberto Bautista Agut who ousted the Swiss 6-4, 6-4.
“I think Stan is a really good player. He is really a tough opponent to beat and we knew each other very well,” Bautista Agut said. “Today I was very consistent and played with a lot of rhythm. I think I did a very complete match.”
Djokovic has won 7 of 8 from the Spaniard, losing only in the 2016 Shanghai semifinals.
“Tough opponent for sure. He hasn’t dropped a set this week. He played great today against Stan. I saw the match. Just very consistent. Doesn’t miss much. In conditions like this, it’s quite suitable to him,” Djokovic said of Bautista Agut. “He gets to many balls and he makes you play. That’s his strength. He always puts an extra ball in the court.”
In the other semifinal, Tomas Berdych, a winner over Pierre-Hugues Herbert, continues his comeback against French Open semifinalist and No. 4 seed Marco Cecchinato.
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