Strange beginning of the night session match – Djokovic , who had won ten previous sets against Nishikori, took a medical time-out already after the opening game to his sore left foot. He was slightly limping and certainly it affected the first set, but he improved his movement when the 2nd set began. As he trailed 2-6, 4-all, he had an abysmal stats of break point conversion 0/9 (4), but once he had more important break point (set point), the Japanese made a forehand error. The Serb had many chances to win the decider faster: 3:0* (deuce), 4:1* (30/0) & 5:4* (40/30). In a game Nishikori broke back, Mohamed Lahyani helped Djokovic a bit informing the Serb about his broken strings when the player was ready to serve (the umpire shouldn’t have done that, two years later he was suspended for two events after helping Kyrgios to regain the motivation during a match against Herbert). In 2016 it had already been seven years since Djokovic lost having a match point, so when he trailed *1:3 in the tie-break, it seemed that unusually (given the number of matches played) long streak could be finally ended – the Serb responded with winning five straight points. Nishikori fought off another two match points, but serving at 6:5, Djokovic bounced the ball 11 times (the second attempt because at the first one when the ball hit the net and the 1st serve was repeated) and delivered a service winner down the T. # Djokovic’s second similar semifinal in the Italian capital. He faced Nishikori six times in 2016 and their Roman encounter was the only one when a deciding set was required.
# Comparison of Djokovic’s two similar semifinals in Rome:
2011: Djokovic d. Murray 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(2)… 3 hours 2 minutes… Total points: 103-91… 2 points away
2016: Djokovic d. Nishikori 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5)… 3 hours 2 minutes… Total points: 112-111… 3 points away
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