WATCH | Kei Nishikori comes up with ‘miss of the decade’
No matter how good a player is, one has surely committed grave errors at times that was enough to cost them the game. The latest such incident happened in Italian open’s match between Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori, where the World No. 24 missed an easy smash that pretty much decided the outcome.
The four-time champion, Novak Djokovic got his 10th tour-level match win of 2018 against Kei Nishikori in the match that lasted two hours and 21 seconds. With the win, Djokovic moved into his first semi-final of the ATP world tour since returning from the elbow injury in January. Though Djokovic was delighted after the hard-fought win and on the prospect of facing Rafael Nadal in the final, credit should be given to Nishikori for his intense fight.
Nishikori took an immediate lead in the match with the help of a couple of backhand errors from Djokovic. The Monte-Carlo runners-up held his nerves and didn’t give away his advantage over the Serb before eventually clinching the first set with a well-executed drop shot, setting up a simple forehand winner.
However, Djokovic came back strongly in the second set, dominating Nishikori’s serve as the 30-year-old won 71 percent of return points. He broke Nishikori’s service games thrice to clinch the second set and took the match into a deciding set. And it was here that the Japanese made probably the miss of the decade as he failed to execute an easy smash, which pretty much shifted the momentum in the Serb’s favour.
Djokovic made Nishikori regret his sloppy play as he won the seventh game by attacking Nishikori’s backhand and broke his serve to move 4-3 ahead. The miss had taken much of Nishikori's confidence as Djokovic soon broke Nishikori’s serve to seal the match.