Australian Open 2019, quarter-finals, Highlights: Novak Djokovic to face Lucas Pouille; Naomi Osaka to take on Karolina Pliskova

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Australian Open 2019, quarter-finals, Highlights: Novak Djokovic to face Lucas Pouille; Naomi Osaka to take on Karolina Pliskova
  • 15:37 (IST)

    That's it from us here!

    Thank you for joining us today. Do come  back tomorrow as we bring you live updates from the women's semi-final matches as well the solitary men's semi-final match

  • 15:36 (IST)

    Here are the eight semi-finalists!

  • 15:18 (IST)

    Novak Djokovic through to the semi-finals!

    Djokovic wishes a speedy recovery for Nishikori

  • 15:12 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 6-1, *4-1. Novak Djokovic through to semis after Kei Nishikori retires

    Djokovic breaks again. Nishikori takes off his cap and decides that he cannot carry on at his best. Djokovic gives him a hug and consoles him. The sizeable Japanese contingent gives him a thunderous applause nevertheless as he walks off RLA. Remember, Nishikori had spent 13 hours and 47 minutes on court coming into the semi-finals, the second-most among all the quarter-finalists. Djokovic, in contrast, had spent four hours less.  

  • 15:04 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 6-1, 3-1*

    Djokovic is running away with the match here. He holds to love again.

  • 15:01 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 6-1, *2-1

    Poor execution from Nishikori at the net. First he sees his volleyed drop shot sail narrowly wide. On the next point, he smacks his forehand volley out from a promising position. A couple of unforced errors, his 24th and 25th of the match, hands Djokovic the break to love.

  • 14:59 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 6-1, 1-1*

    Djokovic holds to love. Nishikori is moving much better now compared to before. Looks like the physio has worked his magic.

  • 14:56 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 6-1, *0-1

    Nishikori takes to the court with a heavily bandaged right thigh. Good start as he induces two errors from Djokovic but follows it up with a double fault. He pins Djokovic to his backhand before hitting a winner. He seals the hold after Djokovic nets his return.

  • 14:50 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 6-1, 0-0*

    Take a look at the stats from the first set

  • 14:49 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 6-1. Novak Djokovic claims first set

    Djokovic wraps up the set in just 31 minutes with a love-hold. Nishikori calls for the trainer immediately to seek treatment on his right thigh. Hope it's nothing serious.

  • 14:47 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori *5-1

    Djokovic breaks again! It was only a matter of time before he got another break. Nishikori doesn't help his case by conceding a double fault. Djokovic will now serve for the first set.

  • 14:39 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 4-1*

    At 40-30, Djokovic misses a sitter at the net when he sends his smash out. However, at gamepoint, he makes no mistake as he slams the ball to clinch the game.

  • 14:35 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori *3-1

    A tough hold from Nishikori. Djokovic finding it easy to win points of the Japanese. Nishikori finally gets the hold at the third time of asking.

  • 14:27 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 3-0*

    Djokovic races to a 40-0 lead before conceding a point via a double fault. He still holds. Clinical from the World No 1.

  • 14:24 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori *2-0

    Nishikori does well to set up a clean forehand winner on the first point. A couple of forehand errors makes it 15-30. At 30-30, Nishikori makes space for a forehand winner but can't seal the hold on the next point. Djokovic keeps up the pressure to get the break.

  • 14:18 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori 1-0*

    Djokovic starts the match with a service winner. A Nishikori forehand to the net gives the Serb a 30-0 lead. Two easy points later, Djokovic wins the first game to love.

  • 14:16 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Nishikori *0-0

    Ready? Play!

  • 14:13 (IST)

    Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori

  • 14:10 (IST)

    Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori

    The players are out on a floodlit Rod Laver Arena. Kei Nishikori wins the toss and chooses to receive first. 

  • 13:33 (IST)

    Up next, Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori!

    The final quarter-final match pits World No 1 Novak Djokovic against eighth seed Kei Nishikori. That match gets underway in 30 minutes time. 

  • 13:29 (IST)

    Lucas Pouille enters his first Major semi-final!

    Pouille talks about Mauresmo's impact

  • 13:28 (IST)

    Lucas Pouille enters his first Major semi-final!

    Safe to say that Amelie Mauresmo was happy with her ward's performance

  • 13:26 (IST)

    Lucas Pouille enters his first Major semi-final!

  • 13:25 (IST)

    Lucas Pouille enters his first Major semi-final!

    Take a look at the stats from the match.

  • 13:24 (IST)

    Lucas Pouille enters his first Major semi-final!

    On making it to his first Major semi-final, Pouille says, "I'm very happy. I knew it was going to be a tough match but I returned and served well. I don't know what to say. I hadn't won a match coming into the tournament so this feels good. After losing in Sydney and Perth, we kept working hard."

    On his coach, two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo, Pouille says, "Players should hire more female coaches. She knows everything about tennis. It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman."

  • 13:17 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 4-6. Lucas Pouille enters semi-final.

    Pouille wins the first point with a crisp forehand winner. At gamepoint, Raonic opts to leave a Pouille shot at the net thinking that  it's floating beyond. The ball lands comfortably inside the line much to Raonic's frustration. Pouille gets a match point after Raonic sends a backhand to the net. Raonic conducts the next point from the net. He plays a delicate drop shot which Pouille tries to get to but can't return. Pouille gets another matchpoint with a ferocious backhand passing shot. Raonic saves it with a well-placed inside-out forehand winner. Raonic volleys wide to give Pouille a third matchpoint. Raonic hits his forehand wide to send Pouille's box into a frenzy. The Frenchman has made it to his Major semi-final.

  • 13:08 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), *4-5

    A crucial hold for Pouille. He now has the opportunity to apply pressure on Raonic's serve and break for the match.

  • 13:04 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 4-4*

    An easy hold for Raonic. Hits an ace and service winner along the way. 

  • 13:00 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), *3-4

    Pouille holds his game to love with relative ease after Raonic was made to work for his hold in the previous game.

  • 12:54 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), *2-3

    Pouille races to a 40-0 lead but double faults at gamepoint. He holds his serve with a forehand winner.

  • 12:51 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 2-2*

    Raonic gets a quick love-hold.

  • 12:48 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), *1-2

    Raonic produces his best shot of the day as he lands his forehand right on the T of the corner much to Pouille's disappointment. But that is the only point he wins as Pouille gets a quick hold.

  • 12:46 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 1-1*

    Raonic starts his service game with a double fault. Pouille gets a breakpoint which Raonic saves with a volleyed winner. The Canadian gets the hold.

  • 12:40 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), *0-1

    A good body serve from Pouille at 0-15 to set up the point. He hits a forehand winner which skims off the line before he holds the game with an ace down the middle.

  • 12:36 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 0-0*

    Take a look at the stats from the third set

  • 12:35 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2). Milos Raonic snatches third set.

    Raonic gets two mini-breaks to take a 3-0 lead. The Canadian is pumped up now. He holds both his serves to go 5-0 up. Raonic breaks again to get six setpoints. Pouille saves one point on his serve after Raonic nets his return. Raonic whips a forehand off his ankles wide but finally converts at the third time of asking. We're going into a fourth set.

  • 12:29 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, *6-6

    Raonic hits his backhand long on the first point. Pouille smashes an ace but then double faults on the next point. Another ace follows. Pouille defends a couple of shots at the net but Raonic smashes in a backhand winner. Raonic is pissed over what he perceives is poor umpiring after the chair umpire doesn't spot a wrong call forcing Raonic to overturn the decision by using his review. The point is replayed and won by Pouille forcing the tiebreaker.

  • 12:24 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 6-5*

    Raonic races to a 40-0 lead. Pouille returns with venom on the next point but Raonic holds in the end.

  • 12:22 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, *5-5

    Bad miss from Pouille as sends his volley to the net despite having an entire half of Raonic's court to aim at. A service winner and an errant Raonic forehand gives him a 30-15 lead. He holds to level the score.

  • 12:18 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 5-4*

    Take a look at that return from Pouille!

  • 12:17 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 5-4*

    Pouille stretches every sinew of his body to get to Raonic's serve and he somehow manages to land his return beyond the Canadian. Raonic responds with an ace but then goes 15-30 down with a backhand to the net. Raonic once again responds with an ace. What a shot from Pouille! With the 6'5" frame of Raonic at the net, Pouille whips in a forehand above Raonic and into the opposite corner to get a breakpoint. Raonic saves it. Another breakpoint for Pouille after Raonic sends his backhand to the net. Raonic saves it with a blistering ace. Raonic finally wins a point at the net to get a gamepoint but he misses it with a poor forehand hit long.The Canadian is unlucky at his next gamepoint opportunity as Pouille's return hits the tape and wrongfooting Raonic. The Canadian gets another gamepoint and he finally gets the hold.

  • 12:09 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, *4-4

    Pouille holds to 30. 

  • 12:04 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 4-3*

    Despite Raonic's giant frame, Pouille has managed to find angles to sneak in passing winners beyond the Canadian at regular intervals. He hits another peach at 15-15 and then brings up a double break point with a forehand winner at the net. Raonic saves one with a 181km/hr ace. Raonic gets to deuce after Pouille's return floats long. Another ace brings up gamepoint for the Canadian which he duly converts with another ace. 

  • 12:00 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, *3-3

    A tame return from Raonic at 0-15 gives Pouille an easy putaway. The Frenchman motors through his service game to hold. 

  • 11:56 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 3-2*

    At 40-15, Pouille plays the shot of the match when he whips his return with vicious pace beyond a diving Raonic. Raonic holds.

  • 11:54 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, *2-2

    A clean and flat forehand from Pouille to get started in the game. The Frenchman has kept the rallies short and effective so far. He races through his serve to hold to love.

  • 11:51 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 2-1*

    Raonic has not been able to use his serve as effectively as he would like to so far. Pouille nicks a couple of points off him but Raonic holds in the end.

  • 11:47 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, *1-1

    A tricky hold for Pouille with Raonic getting a pair of forehand winners. At 40-30, Raonic can't keep his scoop from the net in and Pouille gets the hold.

  • 11:45 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, 1-0*

    Raonic hits a couple of forehand winners to hold the game to 15.

  • 11:44 (IST)

    Raonic vs Pouille 6-7, 3-6, *0-0

Preview: Novak Djokovic must outgun "fighter" Kei Nishikori to keep his record seventh title tilt alive, while Lucas Pouille has a maiden semi in sight against Milos Raonic in Wednesday's Australian Open quarter-finals.

Marathon man Nishikori has already spent 13hr 47min on court in Melbourne this year, more time than any other player, coming through three five-set epics in his four matches so far.

He has twice clawed back from the precipice of being two sets down, the latest against Pablo Carreno Busta on Monday that went to a deciding super tiebreak.

Djokovic, after coming through his own draining late-night slugfest against Daniil Medvedev, said he knows what to expect from the eighth seed.

"Well, Kei won another marathon match," Djokovic said of the Japanese number one, who will be in his fourth quarter-final in Melbourne but is yet to reach a semi.

"Congratulations to him for fighting back from two sets to love down and break down. He's a fighter," he added.

Nishikori is unbeaten in eight matches this year after winning the Brisbane International, and although Djokovic holds a 15-2 win-loss record in head-to-heads he is prepared for another gruelling battle.

"He's a very talented player. One of the quickest players on the tour. You know, hard worker. Yeah, I expect a tough one," said Djokovic.

They have met five times in Grand Slams with Nishikori's lone win coming in the US Open 2014 semi-final.

Djokovic defeated Nishikori in the last eight of the Australian Open three years ago in straight sets and this will be their third consecutive major showdown.

The Serb won last year in the quarter-final at Wimbledon 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and the US Open semi-final 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on his way to lifting the titles.

With Roger Federer already out, Djokovic is the lone player remaining with a chance to earn his seventh Norman Brookes trophy.

Pouille, the 28th seed who will turn 25 next month, has a former Australian Open champion in his corner as he tries to reach a first Grand Slam semi-final .

The Frenchman split with his long-time coach Emmanuel Planque in the off-season and hired Amelie Mauresmo, who won the women's title in Australia in 2006.

He said she had helped him bring more variety to his game. "Yeah, that's one goal, to mix it up a lot and to be more consistent, especially from the baseline," said Pouille, whose previous best in majors was quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2016.

Raonic, the 16th seed, has blasted through the tournament on the back of his supreme serving, only dropping one set — to former champion Stan Wawrinka — in the second round.

Ominously for Pouille, the Canadian former world number three thinks he has improved since he achieved his highest ranking in November 2016.

"I think I'm a better player than I was back then," he said of developing a more aggressive serve-volley style since coming back from wrist surgery in 2017 and dropping outside the top 30.

"In the first five years of my career I probably only hit a couple thousand volleys," added Raonic, who has won all three previous meetings with Pouille, the most recent on grass in Stuttgart last year.

"I'm sure over the last three years I've probably hit tens of thousands of volleys," said Raonic.

With inputs from AFP.

Updated Date: Jan 23, 2019 15:38:41 IST