Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori square off Saturday in the semifinals of the 2016 Rome Masters.
Novak Djokovic is coming off a straight sets win over Rafael Nadal that was decided in 25 games. Djokovic was broken multiple times against Nadal but found a way to dig deep and take advantage of mistakes like he usually does. Djokovic continues to clamp down on his opponent whenever an opening presents itself. Djokovic has dropped just one set this tournament but has needed to win seven games in four of his sets. Djokovic has still lost just one match since the Indian Wells Masters and has won 14 of his last 16 matches in straight sets. Djokovic hopes to reach his seventh Rome Masters final. A victory here would also advance Djokovic to his sixth final this season.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a three set victory over Dominic Thiem that took 21 games to decide. Nishikori continues to build momentum heading into the French Open, as he’s won 10 of his last 12 matches and eight of his last 11 matches have been decided in straight sets. Nishikori continues to hit his spots and is far more consistent with his service game. Nishikori hopes to get his eighth win over a top-10 player since the 2015 season. Nishikori hopes to make his third final appearance of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and first in the Rome Masters. A victory here would be Nishikori’s fourth final appearance this season.
These two have played 10 times, and Djokovic has won eight of those meetings. The most recent match was in this year's Madrid Masters, a match Djokovic won in straight sets. Nishikori’s only wins over Djokovic came in the 2014 US Open and 2011 Basel Open. This will be the fourth time these two meet on clay court.
I really like the way Nishikori is playing at the moment and is a fan of his game overall. However, Djokovic is head and shoulders the best player in the world, and if he’s not losing to Nadal on clay, he’s not losing this tournament.
Look for Djokovic to advance to yet another final.