London: Three-time champion Novak Djokovic reached his eighth Wimbledon semifinal Wednesday with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori in a stormy Centre Court clash.
Djokovic, 31, will be playing in his 32nd Slam semifinal where he will face either World No.1 Rafael Nadal or fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro. It will be Djokovic’s first semifinal at a Major since the 2016 French Open when he completed the career Grand Slam.
The 12-time Major winner prevailed despite picking up two code violations and accusing umpire Carlos Ramos of ‘double standards’.
“I think the first warning was unnecessary,” said Djokovic, who was sanctioned in the second set for spearing his racquet into the court. “It didn’t harm the grass. Kei did the same in the fourth set but wasn’t warned. The umpire said he didn’t see. I don’t think it’s fair but it is what it is.”
Despite his anger, Djokovic still reeled off 10 of the last 12 games of the quarterfinal. “It feels great to be back in the last four of a Slam. I’ve been building in the last couple of weeks and my level of tennis is going up,” he pointed out. “I am peaking at the right moment.”
After racing through the first set, Djokovic was handed his first code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct. The 2011, 2014 and 2015 champion was clearly unsettled by the dispute, quickly surrendering the set.
Djokovic saved three breakpoints in the fifth game of the third and made the Japanese star pay by breaking for 4-2 and an eventual two sets to one lead.
Nishikori, who had won only two matches in 15 meetings with the 12-time Major winner, broke for 1-0 in the fourth but was broken straight back. The 12th seed then raced through the set to win the match.