Djokovic needs a lift against Nishikori

Novak Djokovic knows he can’t afford another match littered with mistakes when he faces No.7 seed Kei Nishikori in Tuesday’s Australian Open quarter-finals.

The top seed squeezed past Frenchman Gilles Simon in five sets in just over four-and-a-half hours in the fourth round despite racking up a remarkable 100 unforced errors.

Djokovic admitted he was well below his best but added the high error count also had a lot to do with the No.14 seed’s relentless counter-punching – a point echoed by Roger Federer in his assessment of the match.

Either way, Djokovic won’t dwell on the sub-par display.

“In terms of a level that I’ve played, it’s the match to forget for me,” Djokovic said.

“I won it, so it’s pretty good. When you’re playing that bad and still manage to win – hopefully it’s going to be better the next one.

“I’ve been in these situations before. The good thing about grand slams is that you have a day off in between, which gives you enough time.

“I’ve had worse situations where I had much less time to recover after long matches.

“So I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

Nishikori advanced with much less fuss, dispatching No.9 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.

“It was one of the best matches I had this week,” Nishikori said.

“I played good tennis, through three sets – all three sets.

“It’s great to finish straight sets always, especially grand slam is two weeks, so it’s a long time.”

Japan’s top-ranked player trails Djokovic 5-2 in their head-to-head battle, with Nishikori last beating the Serb in a semi-final boilover at the US Open in 2014.

He planned to watch a replay of that match before he takes the court on Tuesday.

“That gives me a lot of confidence to play against him again, but we played in London (last year) and he kind of destroyed me,” the seventh seed said.

“It wasn’t an easy match for me. It’s different conditions (here), but I hope I can make some changes and try to play better.

“I’m ready to beat him again.”

Nishikori has received treatment for a wrist issue at the Open but declared a clean bill of health ahead of the quarter-final.


2015 World Tour Finals, London, hard, RR, Djokovic 6-1 6-1

2015 Rome Masters, Rome, clay, QF, Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-1

2014 World Tour Finals, London, hard, SF, Djokovic 6-1 3-6 6-0

2014 Paris Masters, Paris, hard, SF, Djokovic 6-2 6-3

2014 US Open, New York, hard, SF, Nishikori 6-4 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3

2011 Basel Open, Basel, hard, SF, Nishikori 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-0

2010 French Open, Paris, clay, R64, Novak Djokovic 6-1 6-4 6-4


Age: 28

Ranking: 1

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US94,251,218 ($A137.59 million)

Career titles: 60

Grand slam titles: 10 (Australian Open 2008, 2011-2013, 2015; Wimbledon 2011, 2014, 2015; US Open 2011, 2015)

Career win-loss record: 695-146

Australian Open win-loss record: 54-6

Best Australian Open results: champion 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015


Age: 25

Ranking: 7

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US11,339,115 ($A16.55 million)

Career titles: 10

Grand slam titles: 0

Career win-loss record: 248-122

Australian Open win-loss record: 20-6

Best Australian Open results: quarter-finalist 2012, 2015

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