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Djokovic advances to Olympic tennis semis; Vondrousova, Bencic to meet in women's final

Novak Djokovic of Serbia (pictured) beat Kei Nishikori of Japan to advance to the men's semifinals at the 2020 Summer Games on Thursday in Tokyo. Photo by Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE
Novak Djokovic of Serbia (pictured) beat Kei Nishikori of Japan to advance to the men's semifinals at the 2020 Summer Games on Thursday in Tokyo. Photo by Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE

July 29 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Novak Djokovic cruised into the Tokyo Olympics men's tennis semifinals with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Japan's Kei Nishikori on Thursday, moving just two matches away from a gold medal.

Djokovic dictated play in the 70-minute match, winning 85% of points on his first serve and 82% on his second serve. He picked up a break on Nishikori's first service game and never looked back, finishing off the match with a cross-court backhand winner on a second serve.

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A fist pump was Djokovic's only celebration.

The 34-year-old Serbian is on a mission to complete a "Golden Slam" by winning all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal in the same year, a feat completed only once before, by Steffi Graf in 1989.

He hasn't dropped a set at Tokyo and is on a 22-match winning streak in a year that has already included titles at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.

Djokovic picked up a bronze medal at the Beijing Games in 2008 but failed to win a medal in both 2012 and 2016.

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Next up will be either Alexander Zverev or Jeremy Chardy in the semifinals. The other men's semifinal will see Karen Khachanov of the Russian Olympic Committee face off against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

Nishikori, a bronze medalist at Rio 2016, was Japan's last singles medal hope after world No. 2 Naomi Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron to start the Summer Games on Friday, was upset by Czech Marketa Vondrousova in the third round.

On the women's side, the 22-year-old Vondrousova, currently ranked No. 42 in the world, continued her magical run in Tokyo on Thursday, advancing to the gold medal match with a 6-3, 6-1 win over world No. 6 Elina Svitolina in 64 minutes.

Vondrousova played a much cleaner game than the more experienced Svitolina, using an array of drop shots and committing just 18 unforced errors to the Ukrainian player's 29.

In the other women's semifinal on Thursday, Switzerland's Belinda Bencic advanced in a hard-fought win over Elena Rybakina of Khazakstan by a score of 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3, breaking down in tears as she closed out the contest.

The start times for Thursday's matches were pushed back from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in response to players' struggles with the extreme heat and humidity in Tokyo.

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