Published: Sun, September 09, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

US Open diary: Schiavone retires, Nishikori forgets finest hour

US Open diary: Schiavone retires, Nishikori forgets finest hour

The last time Nishikori reached the last four of the US Open in 2014, he pulled off the biggest win of his career to date, beating Novak Djokovic to reach the final. And he finished with 53 unforced errors.

Djokovic said after the match that he'd been "very tested", and paid full praise to his opponent after the 2 hour, 49 minute match.

Normally, players are allowed to head off the court only between sets to change what they're wearing.

Nishikori, who missed last year's US Open after a season-ending wrist injury, joined compatriot Naomi Osaka in reaching the semis - the first time that a Japanese man and woman have reached the last four in the same Grand Slam.

Nishikori has one of the best records in history in deciding sets.

The world number seven, who has reached two Grand Slam finals since his triumph in 2014, did steady the ship in the fourth set and his superiority told as he grabbed the all-important break in the seventh game to send the match into a decider.

Osaka was an easy victor in her quarterfinal, eliminating unseeded Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-1, 6-1 in all of 57 minutes. Serving for the set, Djokovic saved an additional two break points, forcing an error from Roger to close the set 6-4 and move a set away from the title (Federer was three from 17 on break points at that moment).

Keys has made it this far in a major for the fourth time in her career.

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Osaka celebrated her win calmly and coolly unlike the floods of tears which greeted her last-16 victory over Aryna Sabalenka. He restored parity with a break to love and, finally finding some length off his forehand wing, broke for the first time in the match and served it out after 42 minutes of ebbs and flows.

Madison Keys was one of four American women in the U.S. Open semifinals a year ago, when she was the runner-up. "It wasn't easy and I didn't feel like I was playing my best tennis today, but I fought through somehow and it gives me big confidence".

"I asked the chair umpire whether they are using some form of ventilation or air conditioning down at the court level side, and he said he's not aware of it - it's only what comes through the hallway", added Djokovic. She recovered to win in three sets, with her opponent accusing her of acting after the match.

Tsurenko didn't appear bothered by the conditions, but whether it was her health or just first-time jitters, she was off from the minute she stepped onto the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The third set Nishikori won the tiebreak but in the fourth game Cilic served well and naturally equalized.

It was a case of sweet revenge for Nishikori as he outlasted Cilic, four years after losing to the Croatian player in the final of the US Open. "Just trying to find a way to hang in there". Nishikori has won eight of the 14 meetings.

Djokovic forced Millman to play off the baseline as he took the ball early which allowed him to take control of pace and rallies. He sat out past year because of an injured right elbow.

Raducanu and McHugh will both look to reach the junior quarter-finals while Alfie Hewett, who had to sleep on an airport floor during a nightmare journey to NY, and Gordon Reid begin the defence of their wheelchair doubles title.

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