Basel - Novak Djokovic fell to a shock
defeat in the Swiss Indoors semifinals on Saturday, as Kei Nishikori of
Japan beat the top-ranked Serb 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0.
hampered by a shoulder injury yet stood just two points from victory at
5-4 in the second, when Nishikori turned the match around by winning a
The 32nd-ranked Nishikori, a wild card entry who
had been overmatched in the first set, raced away with the decider for a
career-best victory. He will play Roger Federer in Sunday's final after
the defending champion beat his Beijing Olympics gold medal-winning
doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (5), 6-2.
unbelievable," said the 21-year-old Nishikori, who is assured of his
highest ever ranking when the new ATP list is published Monday. "In the
first set I was actually playing terrible. In the second set I started
playing well and getting a rhythm."
Djokovic was twice treated for
"pretty bad" pain in his right shoulder after having his service
broken, but praised Nishikori as a deserved winner.
getting impossible balls back and really making me play every shot,"
said Djokovic, who was coming off a six-week break to treat a back
injury. "He was better and I didn't use the opportunities I had. I don't
think I should speak about that third set."
Djokovic dropped to 68-4 this year, with two of his losses the result of injury retirements.
Nishikori joins Federer, in the French Open semifinals, as the only players to beat Djokovic over the full distance in 2011.
was initially outclassed as Djokovic raced to a 5-1 lead, moving his
opponent around the court with powerful ground strokes.
then lost his serve and called for a medical timeout to treat his right
shoulder. Pains in the same shoulder had prompted his retirement in the
Cincinnati Masters final in August against Andy Murray.
Nishikori then found more service trouble — managing just a 24 percent
first-serve rate in the opening set — and Djokovic took advantage.
Nishikori improved in the second set, and a break to lead 3-2 prompted Djokovic to again call for the trainer.
was two points from victory when Nishikori showed tenacity to win a
point that brought both men to the net, before Djokovic's defensive
volley went out.
"It was, like, 20, 30 (shots)," Nishikori said of
the defining rally. "If you lose the point, it's almost over. I was
just concentrating on putting the ball in play."
tiebreaker, Nishikori profited from Djokovic's wayward double-handed
backhands. Nishikori dominated the decider and clinched a famous victory
when Djokovic sent another backhand long.
Djokovic did not commit to playing at the Paris Masters which starts Monday, though he has a first-round bye.
this condition of the shoulder, I don't think I will be able to
practice in the next couple of days. It's pretty bad," he said.
In their only previous meeting, Djokovic allowed Nishikori just nine games in a straight-sets win at Roland Garros last year.
has just one career title, on hard courts at Delray Beach, Florida, in
2008, and previously reached one final this year: he lost to Ryan
Sweeting of the United States on clay in Houston in April.
enjoyed his best series of results since the U.S Open, beating
eighth-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to a Shanghai Masters
semifinals loss to Murray.
In Basel, Nishikori also recovered from losing the opening set to beat seventh-ranked Tomas Berdych in the first round.