ReutersLONDON (Reuters) — Three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic was a man on a mission as the former world No. 1 beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday to reach the semifinals for the eighth time.
“I feel like I’m peaking at the right moment,” declared the 12th-seeded Serb after joining Americans John McEnroe and Pete Sampras in fourth place on the list of most Wimbledon semifinal appearances in the Open Era.
Djokovic had looked in control after the first set on a sunny Centre Court but lost his cool and concentration in the second after a heated exchange with umpire Carlos Ramos.
With his 24th-seeded opponent saving three break points to hold serve at 2-1, Djokovic bounced his racket off the baseline in frustration and then seethed after he was given a code of conduct warning.
Nishikori promptly broke serve and then held to go 4-1 up before leveling the match at 1-1 but any sense of a fightback, and the possibility of the first Japanese man in the Wimbledon semifinals since 1933, was short-lived.
Nishikori, playing Djokovic on grass for the first time and seeking to end a 12-match losing streak against the Serb, held his own in the third set before running out of steam.
Failing to take advantage of three break points at 2-2, he lost his own serve to go 4-2 down in what came to be a turning point.
“That was I think the biggest chance I had. But he played a great three points,” Nishikori said.