With a swift 6-2, 6-0 quarterfinal win over Kei Nishikori, his 16th consecutive win over the former No. 4, No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic not only tied Roger Federer for most match wins for a man in Olympic history with 13, but he also set a new record: the Serb is now the first player ever, male or female, to reach three Olympic semifinals in singles.
“Matches are not getting easier, but my level of tennis is getting better and better,” he told ITFTennis.com. “I’ve done that many, many times in my career: I’m the kind of player that the further the tournament goes, the better I’m feeling on the court. That’s the case here: my best performance of the tournament tonight against a very good opponent.”
Djokovic’s last loss to Nishikori came in the 2014 US Open semifinals, which actually put Nishikori up 2-1 in the pair’s head-to-head. Now, Djokovic is 17-2 against him.
The first two times Djokovic reached the Olympic semifinals, he was beaten—albeit barely—by the eventual gold medalist. At Beijing in 2008 he fell to Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, but then beat James Blake for the bronze medal; at London in 2012 he fell to Andy Murray, 7-5, 7-5, but then fell to Juan Martin del Potro in the bronze medal match.
The Serb, who’s currently on a 22-match winning streak that began a week before Roland Garros, will face Alexander Zverev on Friday for a spot in his first gold medal match.