Miami: Top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic withstood back spasms throughout the second set on Wednesday to defeat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3 and reach the Miami Open semi-finals.
Novak Djokovic reacts during his quarter-final match against Tomas Berdych in the Miami Open at Florida on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
Djokovic, trying to match Andre Agassi's record of six Miami titles with his third in a row, will play Belgian 15th seed David Goffin today for a berth in Sunday's final.
The Serbian won his 14th consecutive match at the hardcourt event and his 28th out of 29, but needed a gritty performance after back pain began early in the second set, prompting him to have massage therapy before serving in the sixth game.
"Due to windy conditions on the court, it was hard to find a good rhythm to serve," Djokovic said. "I had a little bit of a spasm in the back but (the trainer) did a great job and I was able to finish the match."
Asked if he had any worries the spasms might become a long-term issue, Djokovic said: "No concerns. None at all."
On the women's side, reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, the second seed from Germany, and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus advanced to semi-final showdown.
Both have finals wins over top-ranked Serena Williams this year, Kerber at the Australian Open and Azarenka at Indian Wells.