Miami, Ricky Dimon @Dimonator
Novak Djokovic booked a spot in his 13th consecutive final at the Masters 1000 and World Tour Finals levels by defeating David Goffin 7-6(5), 6-4 in the Miami Open semis on Friday afternoon. Djokovic improved to 27-1 on the season (his only loss has come via retirement) after two hours and five minutes.
Playing in his second straight Masters 1000 semifinal, having reached the same stage in Indian Wells, Goffin got off to a blistering start. The 15th-ranked Belgian survived a marathon service game at 2-3, after which he promptly broke Djokovic for a surprising 4-3 advantage. But the top-seeded Serb broke right back for 4-4 and never relinquished the momentum.
Djokovic gave back a mini-break at 4-3 in the tiebreaker, but he regained the upper hand with a return point at 5-4 before closing out the ‘breaker at 6-5. A more straightforward second set saw the world No. 1 use a single break at 3-3 to get the job done.
“I was aware of the level that he raised his game in last couple of months,” Djokovic said of his opponent. “And the fact that he played the first semifinals of a Masters 1000 event in his career in Indian Wells gave him–obviously–confidence coming into today’s match. I knew he [was] going to try to take his chances; going to try to be aggressive.
“It was evident that we both struggled with conditions today, especially after a tough start that…I think three games went 15 minutes and then the whole first set lasted for (an) hour and 15 minutes. Physically (it was) a great battle; lots of exchanges from the baseline.”
“With Novak you have a lot of balls to hit, and sometimes you’re feeling better game after game,” Goffin commented. “Yeah, that’s why I was feeling good on my baseline, so maybe that’s why it was a good match and it wasn’t scary [going up] against Novak.”
In the nightcap, Kei Nishikori had no fear against a confident Nick Kyrgios. With a remarkably clean performance, the Japanese star quieted the 20-year-old Australian 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 24 minutes.
Nishikori gave back a break midway through the second set with a double-fault, but that was the only occasion on which he dropped serve. The world No. 6 made up for it by breaking Kyrgios at 6-5. He capitalized on his second match point with a lunging forehand volley at the end of an entertaining rally.
“It was tough straight from the get-go,” Kyrgios admitted. “I had pretty much one easy service game, and that was the first game. He’s just playing such good tennis. When he plays me, he plays so aggressive; doesn’t let me dictate points.”