Defending champion Djokovic gets walkover into semi-final as quarter-final Friday is set


By Ros Satar, in Madrid

  • Novak Djokovic gets a walkover into the semi-final after Kei Nishikori withdraws before their match
  • Dominic Thiem [8] v Borna Coric [LL]
  • Alexander Zverev v Pablo Cuevas
  • Rafael Nadal [4] v David Goffin [9]
MADRID, SPAIN – Defending champion Novak Djokovic steadied the ship after his testing opener, joined by Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem wins the match of the day.



Novak Djokovic gets walkover to semi-final

In a pretty entertaining encounter, Novak Djokovic admitted that beating Feliciano Lopez in a stadium full of home supporters was a whole different ‘game’.

“I think Feliciano played really well, especially in the second set. I wasn’t winning too many points on his service games until the last one where I managed to return many balls back in play and then win the match.

“You’re trying to hold your composure and always find the right balance between pumped up and having great intensity on the court, but at the same time having calm and concentration. Especially if you’re playing against a Spanish player in Madrid, it’s obviously a different game, it’s a different feeling. Obviously they have a lot of support.”

Kei Nishikori – 2017 ATP Mutua Madrid Open (c) Christopher Johnson

Kei Nishikori, sadly had to withdraw on the morning of the quarter-final, after being the first player into the quarter-finals after he defeated another Spaniard on home turf, David Ferrer.

Nishikori said about his wrist after the match: “It’s been feeling good, better than I expected. I’m happy with my physically condition. I don’t know how much, you know, I can play, how much this wrist going to hold for couple more matches. I don’t know. But I try to see every day.”

Nishikori held a press coference 15 minutes before he was due to face Novak Djokovic citing continued inflammation in the wrist and that he did not want to push it too hard ahead of Rome and Roland Garros. The wrist is still not 100% and he did not want to risk it.

Djokovic will face the winner of the match between Rafael Nadal and David Goffin.


Dominic Thiem [8] v Borna Coric [LL]

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In probably the men’s match of the tournament so far, No. 8 seed Dominic Thiem came back from a set down to beat Grigor Dimitrov in a thrilling deciding tie-break. Even though Thiem broke back in the first set after Dimitrov the advantage in the opening service game, the Austrian made Dimitrov work hard for the first set, eventually succumbing on the fourth set point.

It was Dimitrov who struck first again in the second set, but this time Thiem was able to turn the advantage his way, breaking back and then once more to take the lead, serving out the second set with a lot more ease. Dimitrov will be kicking himself for opportunities missed as for a third time in a row he struck first with a break, but moreover, saw five match points come and go in the deciding tie-break, while Thiem closed out his spot in the quarter-finals on just his second.

Borna Coric – 2017 ATP Mutua Madrid Open (c) Christopher Johnson for Britwatch Sports

He will face Borna Coric who stunned World No. 1 and Top seed Andy Murray in straight sets. Coric, who has hit a decent run of form here since getting a chance as a lucky loser to come into the main draw could spring another upset if he continues to play the way he did, forcing Murray into long exchanges. Thiem will be a little fatigued after his match-up with Dimitrov and another long encounter might just tip the balance for the young Croatian.



Alexander Zverev v Pablo Cuevas

If Thiem had the win of the day, surely Alexander Zverev had the line of the day when he determined that the reason he had a game to suit all surfaces was ‘just pure talent’. He schooled a clearly frustrated Tomas Berdych who just could not get it together when it counted, except when it came to killing his racquet at the end.


Rafael Nadal [4] v David Goffin [9]

Rafael Nadal – 2017 ATP Mutua Madrid Open (c) Christopher Johnson for Britwatch Sports

Earlier in the day David Goffin had looked very impressive against Milos Raonic. His run to the Monte Carlo semi-final looked to set the scene for his clay court season, although he was bounced out of Barcelona a little early.

It ought to have been one of the match-ups of the tournament, between Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios, but perhaps it was too much to expect for the Aussie, recently bereaved after his grandfather passed away, and also looking like he was struggling with a hip niggle.

Nadal did not perhaps look quite as convincing in his opening round, but seems to be rising to form, but this will be a better test. Nadal got the better of Goffin in his great run in Monte Carlo – but can he give Nadal a good run out in front of a home crowd?

Play starts for the Madrid Masters quarter-finals at 12pm (11am BST).



Featured Image Credit: Christopher Johnson for Britwatch Sports