Djokovic in Wimbledon semis

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic became a serious Wimbledon title contender as he made his first semi-final since 2015 with a 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-2 win over Kei Nishikori.

It was performance of resilience and resolve from the former number one, reminiscent of the player who held all four Grand Slam titles two years ago.

After taking the first set, Djokovic's Japanese opponent saved four break points before levelling.

The Serb took the next and fought from a break down in the fourth to win.

This is a 32nd Grand Slam semi-final appearance for Djokovic, although there was some doubt he would reach that mark.

A nagging elbow injury caused him to take an eight-month break from the sport prior to last year's US Open, and he also admitted to having to deal with personal issues.

He dropped out of the world's top 20 in May - yet his performance in June at Queen's, where he reached the final, suggested the 31-year-old could reach the second week at Wimbledon. But a semi-final?

After seeing off big servers Kyle Edmund and Karen Khachanov, he faced Nishikori, who had recovered from his own serious injury to hit peak form in reaching his first Wimbledon quarter-final.

On Centre Court, it was first blood to Djokovic and it seemed that his opponent would be for the taking. But then the Japanese player, world number four in March last year, survived four break points early in the second set to level.

As Djokovic battled to find a way to victory, there then came a key moment.

The fifth game of the third set was almost a mirror of the third game of the second - which Nishikori had held despite three break points.

This time it was the Serb who saved three break points before he let out a huge roar when, with momentum on his side, he broke Nishikori in the next game.

Djokovic went on to take the set but there was to be another twist at the start of the fourth when the world number 28 - also known for his obdurate resistance - broke Djokovic again.

But instead of wilting, the Serb broke back immediately. This time there was nothing left in Nishikori's tank, although he leaves the All England Club having re-established himself as one of the leading contenders in Slams.

Djokovic, on the other hand, could face Rafael Nadal - a mouthwatering prospect - in Friday's semi-final.