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Djokovic takes center stage, reaches semifinals

LONDON — Novak Djokovic advanced to the last four at a Grand Slam for the first time since 2016 with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 Wimbledon quarterfinal victory over Kei Nishikori on Wednesday.

Djokovic, a three-time Wimbledon champion, maintained the dominance on Center Court that he has shown throughout the tournament on his first serve.

The 24th-seeded Nishikori was able to attack Djokovic’s second serve and had a chance to take the lead when he was 0-40 up at 2-2 in the third set.

Djokovic rallied to hold and only lost two more games from that point onward as he advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal since the 2016 US Open.

He missed the second half of 2017 with an elbow injury, but his run at Wimbledon is the latest indicator that the 12-time Grand Slam champion is nearing his best form.

Djokovic will next face either two-time champion Rafael Nadal or fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro.

Having played three of his opening four matches away from Centre Court, Djokovic’s request to have his quarterfinal played in the main stadium was granted. That outcome pushed top seeded Roger Federer to Court No. 1 for his match against No. 8 Kevin Anderson.

It is the first time since 2015 that Federer, the eight-time champion at the All England Club, will play away from Centre Court.

In the final quarterfinal match, 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic will face John Isner later Wednesday.

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