Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to reach US Open final

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport at Flushing Meadows
Novak Djokovic
Djokovic will compete in his eighth US Open final - equalling the record of Sampras and Ivan Lendl - and 23rd Grand Slam final
2018 US Open men's final
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: Sunday, 9 September Time: 21:00 BST
Coverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and text updates on the BBC Sport website.

Novak Djokovic moved closer to equalling Pete Sampras's tally of 14 Grand Slams after outclassing Kei Nishikori to reach the US Open final.

Serbia's Djokovic beat the Japanese 21st seed 6-3 6-4 6-2 to set up a meeting with Juan Martin del Potro.

Djokovic and Argentine Del Potro, who advanced when Rafael Nadal retired injured from their semi-final, meet in the final on Sunday at 21:00 BST.

"It means the world to me. I am trying to be the best that I can be," he said.

"I am working hard every day and trying to reach certain heights that I visualise every time I accomplish something big.

"I don't see any limits. I keep on going and hopefully you are enjoying my tennis."

The 31-year-old moved to within one Grand Slam triumph of American great Sampras by winning Wimbledon in July, his first major triumph since the 2016 French Open.

Djokovic suffered with personal and injury problems during 2017 and the early part of this year, but looked back to his best at Wimbledon and has continued that form at Flushing Meadows.

If he beats Del Potro to equal Sampras, only Roger Federer (20) and Nadal (17) stand above him in the all-time list.

Rejuvenated Djokovic marches on

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic has not dropped a set since his second-round win against American Tennys Sandgren

Although Djokovic has struggled with the heat and humidity at times, there were no such problems as he looked energetic in cooler conditions during Friday's night-time semi-final.

The 2011 and 2015 champion suffocated Nishikori with his deep returning, controlling the points and rarely allowing his opponent to drag him into long rallies.

Djokovic's level rarely dropped throughout a two-and-a-half hour victory, the only slight concern being his inability to convert the plethora of break points which came his way.

The sixth seed only took one of five in the first set and missed another four in the first game of the second set.

But his patience was eventually rewarded at a fourth opportunity in the fifth game, and he then broke twice more in a much simpler third set.

"I thought I came in today from the first point with a great intensity, great focus," said Djokovic.

"You have to execute the shots against Kei Nishikori, who is one of the quickest movers."

Japan's hopes of a double success over

Kei Nishikori
Nishikori has now lost 15 times out of 17 matches against Djokovic

Nishikori, 28, was aiming to become the second Japanese player to reach a US Open final at this year's tournament, following 20-year-old Naomi Osaka's semi-final triumph over American Madison Keys on Thursday.

While Osaka will face her idol Serena Williams in her first major final on Saturday, Nishikori will have to wait for another chance to play in his second.

The 2014 US Open runner-up could not be faulted for his endeavour, but was powerless to stop his thumping groundstrokes continually being put back into play by Djokovic.

More success came Nishikori's way when he was able to move into the net, particularly in the second set when he conjured up two break points.

However, he was unable to take either and wilted as Djokovic went on to take his second match point with a stunning retrieving backhand down the line.


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