The world number one had to work hard as he neutralized a powerful Basilashvili to reach the last four in Doha and extend his winning run to 13 matches in Qatar.
A controversial toilet break after three games in the final set helped him reset and recover to edge past the inconsistent Georgian. In the last four Djokovic will play Roberto Bautista Agut who powered past Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-4 in his quarter-final. It was a slow start for the Serb as he trailed by an early double break as Basilashvili broke through Djokovic’s defenses with 142 KPH forehands.
After narrowing the lead from 4-1 to 4-3 the former Doha champion settled into the match, playing with a lot more confidence but unable to create anything substantial. A comfortable hold in the tenth game sealed the opening set for the world number 21 who looked to grab one of the biggest wins of his career.
However, the second set was much better from Djokovic as some very good defensive skills saw an early break of serve and a 3-0 lead. The intensity was a little lost from the Georgian as there was an immediate and effective response from the best player in the world right now. After saving a break point in the final game, Djokovic held his nerve to force a final set and he was happy with his level in the second.
The final set saw Djokovic and Basilashvili share breaks of serve to start as the long and brutal rallies were telling on both players. After the third game, the Serb went for a controversial toilet break which saw the shot clock stop its 90 second timeout, even though it was still running when Basilashvili had his break after nine games.
The reset break seemed to help Djokovic as he won the next two games to get the break advantage and lead 3-2. Cue the Basilashvili frustration