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Tennis news - Djokovic battles back to reach Doha semi-finals

Djokovic battles back to reach Doha semi-finals
By PA Sport

03/01/2019 at 19:44Updated 03/01/2019 at 23:24

World number one Novak Djokovic had to come from behind once again to book his place in the semi-finals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.

For the second day running, the Serbian fought his way back after losing the opening set, this time to Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili, before going through 4-6 6-3 6-4 to set up a last-four showdown with seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Djokovic, who has now won 13 consecutive matches in Doha, told “I thought Basilashvili was playing terrifically from the beginning. I expected him to.

" I knew that he’s playing probably the tennis of his life in the past 10 months, and he’s definitely one of the greatest hitters in the game."

Agut earned his semi-final berth with a hard-fought 6-4 6-4 victory over 2008 finalist San Wawrinka in an hour and 45 minutes.

In the other half of the draw, wild card Tomas Berdych took only 71 minutes to dispense with Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2 6-4.

He will battle it out with Marco Cecchinato for a place in the final after the Italian made it past Dusan Lajovic 7-6(2) 6-2.

Top seed Kevin Anderson will have a chance to avenge his defeat by Gilles Simon in the final in Pune last year after booking a Tata Open Maharashtra semi-final showdown with the same opponent at this year’s event.

Novak Djokovic - ATP Doha 2019

Novak Djokovic - ATP Doha 2019Getty Images

The South African eased his way past Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-3 6-3, taking all four break points with which he was presented along the way.

He said: “I thought I did a really good job creating opportunities and taking them, so definitely felt good out there. I’m happy with the way I’m playing.

“I have to come out and focus on what I do best and if I do that, I’m going to give myself the best chance of getting through.”

Frenchman Simon found himself engaged in a battle with compatriot Benoit Paire, who served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, before eventually prevailing 3-6 7-6(4) 6-4.

Ivo Karlovic, 39, will become the oldest man to reach a tour-level final since the then 42-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1977 if he can beat unranked Steve Darcis on Friday.

Croat Karlovic edged past Ernests Gulbis 7-6(5) 7-6(5), while Darcis, who missed the whole of the 2018 season through injury, got the better of fourth seed Malek Jaziri 7-5 6-2.