Novak Djokovic overjoyed to be back in Australian Open semis after Kei Nishikori retires hurt

The Serb is back in the last-four in Melbourne. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Novak Djokovic overjoyed to be back in Australian Open semis after Kei Nishikori retires hurt

  • World No. 1 in search of a record seventh Aussie Open title.
  • Serb to face 28th seed Lucas Pouille on Friday in semifinal.

MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic was delighted to get back into the semifinals at the Australian Open after missing out for two years as Kei Nishikori retired injured during their last-eight match.
The world No. 1 eased into a showdown with French 28th seed Lucas Pouille as Nishikori retired after just 51 minutes when behind 6-1, 4-1.
“It feels great. This has been my most successful Grand Slam throughout my career, the first one that I won back in 2008,” said Djokovic, who is chasing a record seventh Melbourne Park title. “I have a lot of beautiful memories.
“Yeah, 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.
“Australia has been really kind to me throughout my career.”
Eighth seed Nishikori had endured three five-set epics during 13hr 47min on court before the quarter-final clash and suffered a thigh strain in the first set as his previous exertions took their toll.
After a medical timeout and three minutes of treatment from the physiotherapist, Nishikori emerged for the second set with his right thigh strapped and taped, and courageously attempted to carry on.
He seemed to be moving a little more freely, but the recovery did not last long.
After being broken to go 2-1 down by the Serbian 14-time Grand Slam champion Nishikori became almost immobilized.
When Djokovic broke again to go 4-1 ahead it proved the last straw for Nishikori’s brave challenge.
“After third game or fourth game when I was serving, I felt pretty heavy to my right leg,” Nishikori told reporters.
“After that I couldn’t really bend my knees and couldn’t jump up. Yeah, I decided to stop.”
Djokovic wished his old foe Nishikori a speedy recovery after beating him for the 16th time in 18 meetings.
“I’m really sorry to see him go through pain. He’s had some tough injuries in the last couple of years. I’m sure he’s not feeling great about ending the Grand Slam this way,” said the Serb.
“But he’s had some marathon matches this tournament that probably have taken the toll on his body.”
Djokovic was exhausted after his late-night four-set win over Daniil Medvedev on Monday and made no secret of his delight to escape the quarter-final with such a light workout.
“As they say, this is exactly what the doctor ordered for me after the match two nights ago,” Djokovic said. “Not to spend too much time on the court.
“I’ve had plenty of matches so far this year and I am in another semifinal and I will do everything to get ready for that one.”
Top seed Djokovic will now meet 28th seed Lucas Pouille on Friday after the Frenchman reached his first Grand Slam semifinal by ousting Milos Raonic in four sets.


Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

Updated 25 April 2019
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Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

  • Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games
  • Title rivals Liverpool are just one point behind

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola said both Manchester City and Liverpool deserve to win the Premier League title after his side brushed aside Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday to top the table again.
Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane struck for the visitors in 12 second-half minutes at Old Trafford to inflict a seventh defeat in nine games on United, who remain three points adrift of the top four.
Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games, with Liverpool a point behind. Both sides have just three games remaining.
“I understand the pressure we have and obviously here at Old Trafford with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard running behind,” the City boss told Sky Sports. “I told them we needed to play to win, it doesn’t matter if we concede.
“Now we go to Burnley and we know how tough it will be. It’s important to be calm. We are still not champions with three gaurgesmes left — it’s incredible with the points we have and Liverpool have.
“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot and go in there against Burnley.”
“Both teams deserve the title,” he added. “But it can be just one. The team that is going to lose can’t have regrets because they have given everything. Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but we have to be calm.”