Djokovic the firm favourite

Can Novak Djokovic win the China Open?Novak Djokovic (1/10 to win the match) is the overwhelming favourite to defeat Japanese ace Kei Nishikori and reach the final of the US Open.

Number one seed and world number one Djokovic has been at his imperious best so far in this year’s competition at Flushing Meadows.

The 27-year-old has been both physically and mentally faultless and this was particularly apparent in his quarter-final duel with old rival Andy Murray, which he won in four sets after a gruelling three hours and 32 minutes on court.

Nishikori is the rank outsider of the four men left in the draw at 11/2 to defeat Djokovic and 20-1 to win final Greand Slam of 2014.

The 24-year-old, who is the first male Japanese tennis player to reach the US open semi-finals since 1918 when Ichiya Kumagae did it, has had a much tougher route to the last four than his Serbian counterpart, having gone to five sets in each of his previous two rounds against Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic.

“I feel amazing,” Nishikori said after outlasting Australian Open champion Wawrinka, with his efforts even greater considering he went into the tournament under an injury cloud.

“This is my favourite Grand Slam. I have good memories here and I’m very happy to be first time in the semis. I hope I can recover again and play 100 per cent tennis next round.”

There is some hope for the Japanese as in their last three meetings he and Djokovic have won one apiece, with the Serb winning the other via a walkover because of an injury to Nishikori.

The other semi-final sees Roger Federer take on Marin Cilic, with the Swiss ace hoping to take advantage of having saved two match points in his five=set win over Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals.

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