Tennis: Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to set up semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal needed almost five hours to beat Juan Martin del Potro and set up a Wimbledon semi-final with Novak Djokovic.

Three-time champion Djokovic was the first man through to the semi-finals, reaching the last four of a major in more than two years by seeing off Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-2 on Centre Court.

The 12-time Slam
champion will face old rival and world No 1 Nadal, who eventually came through against Del Potro in a five-set epic that lasted four hours and 48 minutes on Centre Court to reach his sixth Wimbledon semi-final and 28th at the majors.

"I think it was great quality tennis and in the final set there were some amazing points," said Nadal who was a 7-5 6-7 4-6 6-4 6-4 winner.

"Anything could have happened, so this is a big achievement for me to get to the semi-finals at Wimbledon. In the last set there was a little of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting crazy with his forehands."

It will be Djokovic's first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2016 US Open as he continues his bid to return to the top of the game.

The Serb has looked in impressive form over the last week and was too strong for Nishikori, who was competing in his first quarter-final at the All England Club.

Djokovic was frustrated at times during the match, receiving two code violations and accusing umpire Carlos Ramos of "double standards", but also showed plenty of signs he is returning to somewhere near his best.

Despite handing back an early break in the opening set, Djokovic broke again for 5-3 and then wrapped up the set.

Nishikori held a 10-minute game to start the second set and then saved three break points in his next service game as Djokovic looked to build on his advantage.

However, Djokovic was unable to maintain his level and it was Nishikori who broke for 3-1 and took the second set.

Djokovic looked to be growing frustrated and was warned for throwing his racket into the ground.

However, he prevented further damage when he held from 0-40 at 2-2 in the third set, and the hold would prove significant as he responded well to break Nishikori twice in succession.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion then raised his level in the fourth set and finished with a winner into the corner to book his place in Friday's semi-finals where he was joined by a familiar foe as Nadal won through late in the day.




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