Djokovic Gets Retirement From Nishikori, Pouille Ousts Raonic; Nadal v Tsitsipas Thurs At Australian Open
by Staff | January 23rd, 2019, 6:54 am

Novak Djokovic barely had to break a sweat Wednesday night at the Australian Open thanks to a retirement from Kei Nishikori with the Serb up 6-1, 4-1.

“As they say, this is exactly what the doctor ordered for me after that match two nights ago, not to spend too much time on the court,” said Djokovic who played a long match in the previous round against Daniil Medvedev.

“I’ve had plenty of matches this year already. Now I’m in another semifinal, and I’ll do everything to get ready for that one.”

Nishikori entered the match having played three 5-setters including a 5-hour marathon on Monday. And with his history of retirements, the outcome really wasn’t much of a surprise.

“Before the match, I was okay,” Nishikori said. “Of course, I wasn’t, like, fresh, fresh. I thought I was going to be okay. After third game or fourth game when I was serving, I felt pretty heavy to my right leg. After that I couldn’t really bend my knees and couldn’t jump up. Yeah, I decided to stop.”

Djokovic has now won his last 19 matches in Grand Slam play.

“Feels great,” Djokovic said about his result. “This has been my most successful Grand Slam throughout my career, the first one that I won back in 2008.

“Past two years have been a bit tough with the elbow injury and everything. Over the past 10 years, I’ve had plenty of success here. Obviously that has helped to kickstart the season in a great fashion, obviously served as a great confidence boost for what was coming up after that.”

In the Friday night semifinal, Djokovic will meet Lucas Pouille who chopped down Milos Raonic 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4. After never having taken a set from Raonic in seven tries, Pouille broke the Canadian three times and handled his big serve about as well as anyone.

It was an ominous start, though, for the Frenchmen who was broken immediately and then went down 5-2 in the first. But Pouille roared back and took the opener and got enough returns back to frustrate Raonic. And he never faced a break point again.

“I didn’t have to face a breakpoint for almost three hours,” Pouille said. “Even if I lost the third set, in my mind it was clear I had to stay focused on my service game, taking care of that, then trying to put as many returns as I can.

“In the third set I had some breakpoints. He always saved it really well with a good serve, good points. Then he made a good breaker. Here we are. It’s a fourth set.

“I’m still leading two sets to one, so I don’t have to panic. I really needed to stay positive, still doing what I did great for 2 hours 30 minutes.”

The 24-year-old Pouille came into the Australian Open with an 0-5 record. But now he’s into his first Grand Slam semifinal. And he’s in town with new coach and 2006 Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo.

“I think she’s bringing a lot of confidence to my game, to my personality, to my state of mind,” said Pouille. “The goal is not to reach the final, the semifinal, the goal is to improve my tennis, to put what I work on during the practice in the match. That gives me less pressure. I’m just trying to focus on my game, not on the consequences and the results.”

Djokovic looked forward to the meeting.

“I always thought he’s a great quality player,” the Serb said of Pouille. “What he has done this tournament is fantastic. He has won against some top players. Of course Milos, Coric in the last round. He struggled a little bit with consistency of his results in the last two years.

“But with the quality of the tennis that he possesses, he deserves to be definitely at the top 15, maybe top 10 of the world. He’s got that quality and potential, no question about it.”

On tap Thursday night in Melbourne, Rafael Nadal will try to stop the breakout run of Stefanos Tsitsipas. Nadal beat the Greek in the Barcelona and Canadian Open finals, but even though he hasn’t dropped a set all week, he’s wary of the 20-year-old.

“For me is always the same: you are in the semifinals of a Grand Slam, you can’t expect an easy opponent,” Nadal said. “Stefanos is one of the best players of the world. To have the chance to be in that final, I need to play my best, and that’s what I am looking for.”

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15 Comments for Djokovic Gets Retirement From Nishikori, Pouille Ousts Raonic; Nadal v Tsitsipas Thurs At Australian Open

RZ Says:

Bracket update: Margot has taken the lead, but Farah is holding strong in second place with a chance to win the bracket. Josh is currrently in 4th place but he is also in the running to win the bracket. The scenarios are now up at If Tsitsipas makes the final, regardless of the result, Margot wins the bracket. If we have a Djokovic-Nadal final, Josh wins if Djokovic is the AO champ, while Farah would win if Nadal is the champ. If it’s a Pouille-Nadal final, Farah wins regardless of the result.

Andy Mira Says:

Ohohohoho!!….Thanks 4 the update RZ!

lylenubbins Says:

Another disappointment from K-Nish. Looks like Rafa-Nole final. I don’t see the Greek beating Rafa, seems like a bad matchup for him. Maybe Pouille can make some magic happen against the Joker.

Daniel Says:

No way Djoko loses to Pouille in an AO semis wjere he has a perfect 6-0 record. Even with them never playong. Pouille is not the most consistant andyhere wete patches he was almost losing in R2 or R3 to an aussie kid. Djoko is in the finla unless he jas some major injuries.

Think nadal would eb there too but Tsisi has showm this tourney he is ready. He could be the first player to beat Fed, Nadal and Djoko at the same Slam. Forst step first, he needs a great day and not get oberwhelmend by the ocasion. The game is there.

Also curious to see if he is able to present some challenge to Nadal, who is yet to be tested this tourney, apart from saving 1 set point early round. He is not “battle tested” and he may need that to challenge Novak as he almost did in Wimby after DelPo QF epic.

senorita Says:

Every set in the match between Tsitsipas and Federer could have gone either way. Roger just didn’t have a Plan B. RBA could have won that match in 3 sets but somehow he managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Giles Says:

The Jap never fails to disappoint. Wish he would retire from the sport. He should take up table tennis,

RZ Says:

AM – even though none of the scenarios have you winning, you are close to top in the bracket. Well done!

Josh Says:

I should win the bracket. Rafa is too strong for Stefanos, he would grab Stef like a bulldog. And Nole is never meant to lose in AO Semi/Final. He also is never meant to lose a match as No1 seed at AO. Believe it or not, Nole will win it all.

Joshua Says:

At worst, I finish @4, my current position. Just have this believe Nole will win it. I should win it too.

RZ Says:

Good luck Josh, and whether or not Noles wins, great job on the bracket!

lylenubbins Says:

@ Daniel, the way to beat Rafa is to go for broke and power him off the court (except for Nole, who in top form can rally endlessly and still come up with winners). I don’t see Tsisi being able to pull that off.

@ seniorita – – agree RBA had that match. I think he got tired.

That said, love me some Tsisi.

chrisford1 Says:

Giles – “The Jap” is Borderline, or perhaps not Borderline, un-PC ethnic slur territory. Careful, you may get a pack of Lefty SJWs after you threatening your job or life for “offending”!

He probably will never win a Slam. He’s now 29, my how the years fly! Height -impaired serve, injuries, inability to “solve” the Big 4’s ability of outperform him and neutralize Kei’s speed and backhand – which are in the ten best of those currently playing. He is deadly dangerous against anyone else. Nishikori, of course is crying all the way to the bank with his huge Japanese endorsement contacts and a net worth of over 80 million.

Ronn Says:

Lol, Giles! Yeah, better be careful! The same clowns who whine about Brexit and the Trump WALL are gonna attack you for daring to use such language, so for future reference we will say…”The gentleman of the world who identifies as a person of Japanese extraction which in and of itself is a social construct derived from outdated white racist ideology, perhaps should consider a lighter sport that is less strenuous on his body. Perhaps he would enjoy a career in table tennis or badminton?” See? Now everybody’s happy, lol.

Ronn Says:

Chrisford, it’s a crying shame that Kei makes that kind of money BASED SOLELY ON HIS ETHNICITY AND RACE because the tennis higher ups are desperate to find an elite Asian player to get the Asian masses interested in the sport so they can expand the market. The poor guy hasn’t even won a MASTERS 1000 much less a MAJOR but his net worth is over 100 million $$$. I must admit I’m jealous of someone who can rake in that kind of money just because he was in the right place and the right time and happened to be of a certain racial/ethnic group. If he had won at least ONE MAJOR I wouldn’t say a thing but he was won NADA.

Madmax Says:

“Kei Nishikori spent 14 hours 39 seconds on court in total, with two going to final set tiebreaks and a 5 hour 5 minute match in his last round against Pablo Carreno.

Really, this seems like a normal physical reaction.” – reports Tennisworld.

It’s not surprising really.

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