Djokovic digs deep again to see off Basilashvili
Novak Djokovic once again rallied from a set down at the Qatar Open as he defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili to reach the last four.
Djokovic needed a decider to overcome Marton Fucsovics on Wednesday after dropping the opener and he was broken twice early on in the first set as Basilashvili took charge.
However, the Georgian, who won the China Open in October, was unable to maintain that level and Djokovic fought back to secure a 4-6 6-3 6-4 success in just under two hours.
The Serb, who won the competition in 2016 and 2017, will now face Roberto Bautista Agut in the last four after the Spaniard defeated Stan Wawrinka in their quarter-final clash.
For 2nd straight day at @QatarTennis, @DjokerNole drops 1st set 4-6 and rebounds for 3-set win. World No. 1 beats @NikolozBasilash to improve to 15-1 at #QatarTennis with 13 straight wins. Djokovic returns later today for doubles SF with younger brother Marko.— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) January 3, 2019
Djokovic took some time to get going in the previous round and it was a similar story against Basilashvili.
He broke Djokovic in the very first game and after he came close to going 3-0 up, he did secure the double-break to open up a 4-1 lead.
Djokovic eventually woke up, and was aided by Basilashvili pushing a makeable smash long to ensure he failed to hold, but the Georgian took his chance when serving for the opener to seize the initiative.
Basilashvili had struck 18 winners to his opponent's seven at that point, yet he was up against it from the start of the second set as Djokovic claimed an early break.
There were still opportunities for Basilashvili, though Djokovic staved off both of his break points, coming out on top after a 33-shot rally en route to winning the game that delivered the second set.
As he had in the previous set, Djokovic broke Basilashvili in his first service game only for the world number 21 to muster an immediate response as he reeled off seven points in a row.
At the next changeover, Djokovic left the court, seemingly for a bathroom break, and that may have disrupted Basilashvili's flow as he was broken when the score was 2-2.
And the world number one would seal his success with a game won to love, Basilashvili whipping a forehand wide and long as Djokovic's endurance in a lengthy rally once again proved the difference.