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Djokovic advances after Nishikori retires at Australian Open

Australian Open Tennis

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, left, congratulates Serbia’s Novak Djokovic as he retires injured during their quarterfinal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)


No man has won more Australian Open titles than Novak Djokovic, so obviously he has worked out a routine for getting through the rounds.

After needing less than an hour to get through his quarterfinal match — the six-time champion was leading 6-1, 4-1 when Kei Nishikori retired with a sore right leg — he was asked about the prospect of a final featuring the players ranked No. 1 and No. 2.

“Right now it’s my press conference, so it will be nice to talk about me more than Nadal,” he said. “If you want to talk about our possible encounter, we talk about that if we both win semis.”

Rafael Nadal plays 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday in the first of the men’s semifinals. Djokovic takes on No. 28-seeded Lucas Pouille on Friday.

Djokovic is back in the semifinals at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2016, when he defended his title to end a sequence of five Australian titles in six years.

He shares the men’s record for most Australian titles with Roger Federer and Roy Emerson. After winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, the 31-year-old Serb is hoping to make it three major titles in a row.

Djokovic has a 27-25 edge in career-head-to-heads with Nadal, whose 17 major titles include only one in Australia (2009).

Their only career meeting at Melbourne Park was in the 2012 final, when Djokovic won an epic five-setter 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5.