fog.png
Wednesday December 8th, 2021 11:18AM

Injured Djokovic advances to quarters at Australian Open

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic wore tape above his right hip, and winced when he stretched for some shots in a three-hour match against Milos Raonic that will go into the records as his 300th win at a major.

For anyone curious about the severity of his injury, he put it into context after qualifying for the Australian Open quarterfinals for the 12th time.

“If it’s any other tournament than a Grand Slam then I would retire, withdraw from the event, that’s for sure,” Djokovic said in an on-court TV interview Sunday following his 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 fourth-round victory. “When it warmed up it was fine. During the match it was kind of on and off."

The eight-time Australian Open champion planned to spend most of the next two days recovering ahead of his quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev.

That's pretty much how he spent his time after injuring an abdominal muscle in his five-set, third-round win over Taylor Fritz.

A lot of recovery, a lot of time getting physiotherapy and, he said, “different treatments with different devices. You know, just pills, painkillers and stuff like this with the medical team ... that definitely helped a lot."

He didn't practice on Saturday — he said he didn't hit a ball — and didn't know until he was warming up three hours before his match against Raonic whether or not he'd be fit enough to play Sunday's late match on Rod Laver Arena.

In the end, he looked OK as he extended his career streak to 12-0 against the big-serving Canadian. He dropped his racket and hurdled an advertising hoarding in the first set, and later watched on as 14th-seeded Raonic had his right ankle re-taped during a medical time out in the second.

His movement wasn't peak Djokovic, but it was good enough to produce 41 winners and drop only one of his 20 service games. His career win-loss record in the four tennis majors is now 300-45, making him the only man other than Roger Federer (362-59) to compile 300 wins.

“I won the match against a great player," Djokovic said, “and hopefully it’s going to be even better in two days.”

U.S. Open finalist Zverev beat No. 23-seeded Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-3 to move into the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park in back-to-back years.

The projected quarterfinal in that top section of the draw panned out according to the seedings.

This other quarterfinal match in that half of the draw is one that nobody saw coming.

With a straight-sets win over third-seeded Dominic Thiem, the U.S. Open champion and Australian Open runner-up in 2020, Grigor Dimitrov advanced to a showdown with Aslan Karatsev.

Yes, that Karatsev — the Russian ranked No. 114 who is playing in his first Grand Slam tournament. Dimitrov beating Thiem isn't exactly an upset.

The 29-year-old Bulgarian has been ranked as high as No. 3, won the ATP Finals, and already led his friend, Thiem, 3-2 in career head-to-heads, although this was their first meeting at a major.

Despite his lengthy tennis pedigree, Dimitrov has never been past the semifinals at a Grand Slam. So he's wary of somebody like Karatsev.

“If you’re here, it’s for a reason - there’s no doubt about it,” Dimitrov said after his 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 win. “Whether it’s a fairytale or not, it’s a match — you’ve got to be ready.”

Karatsev earlier added a win over No. 20 Felix Auger-Aliassime, coming back for a 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory, to an earlier upset over No. 8 Diego Schwartzman.

He'd failed in nine previous bids to qualify for a Grand Slam tournament, but finally succeeded in Doha last month, when qualifying for the Australian Open was held offshore for the first time because of restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.

He's now just the third qualifier to get this far in Australia in the professional era, the first since Goran Ivanisevic in 1989. The last man to get to the round of eight in his first Grand Slam appearance was Alex Radulescu at Wimbledon in 1996.

And not since Patrick McEnroe — John’s brother — in 1991 has a man ranked as low as 114th made it to the Australian Open quarterfinals.

“I was working a lot, and it just happened right now,” the 27-year-old Karatsev said of his recent streak.

“It’s like you never know when it happens. It just happened here.”

Thiem said he had a few issues on Sunday, but didn't want to elaborate or use them as excuses.

It was clear that he was still fatigued after having to come from two sets down to beat Australia's Nick Kyrgios in five sets on Friday night.

“Some little physical issues, plus a real bad day, plus the fact that, well, he’s a great player," Thiem said. “So a combination of those three things, and a result like that can happen."

“The thing also is that I’m also not a machine," he added. “I mean, sometimes I would like to be, but there are really, really bad days.”

___

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Sports - Men's Tennis
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
After impeachment acquittal, Trump remains dominant in GOP
The Republican Party still belongs to Donald Trump
10:34AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Injured Djokovic advances to quarters at Australian Open
Novak Djokovic says wouldn't be playing this week if there wasn't a Grand Slam title on the line
10:27AM ( 26 minutes ago )
GOP's McConnell: Trump morally responsible for Jan. 6 attack
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell delivered a scalding denunciation of Donald Trump in a speech from the Senate floor, calling the former president “morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
10:04AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Kriechmayr matches legends with double speed gold at worlds
Vincent Kriechmayr has matched two legends of Alpine skiing at the world championships by adding downhill gold to the super-G title he won three days ago
9:07AM ( 1 hour ago )
Down but not out, Serena Williams into Australian Open QFs
Serena Williams has returned to the Australian Open quarterfinals by getting past No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka in three sets
8:52AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Djokovic beats Raonic, reaches QFs in Australia
Eight-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has beaten Milos Raonic in four sets to advance to the quarterfinals and register his 300th win in a Grand Slam match
8:41AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: Qualifier Karatsev into Australian Open quarters
Aslan Karatsev has beaten Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Australian Open to become the first man since 1996 to reach the quarterfinals on his Grand Slam debut
12:18AM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Serena Williams in Australian Open quarterfinals
Serena Williams has returned to the Australian Open quarterfinals by getting past No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka in three sets
11:48PM ( 11 hours ago )
The Latest: Serena Williams into 3rd set at Australian Open
Serena Williams has been pushed to a third set by No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka at the Australian Open with a quarterfinal berth on the line
11:06PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Tennis
The Latest: Rublev moves into 4th round at Australian Open
Andrey Rublev is still on course for quarterfinal match against ATP Cup-winning teammate Daniil Medvedev after a 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 third-round win over 39-year-old Feliciano Lopez
2:46AM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Elise Mertens beats Bencic at Australian Open
Elise  Mertens has continued her winning start to 2021 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over 11th-seeded Belinda Bencic to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open
2:10AM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Medvedev wins a 5-setter, advances in Australia
Daniil Medvedev achieved a career first as he advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open: He finally won a match that went to five sets
12:58AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Men's Tennis
After impeachment acquittal, Trump remains dominant in GOP
The Republican Party still belongs to Donald Trump
10:34AM ( 20 minutes ago )
GOP's McConnell: Trump morally responsible for Jan. 6 attack
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell delivered a scalding denunciation of Donald Trump in a speech from the Senate floor, calling the former president “morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
10:04AM ( 49 minutes ago )
UK hits target: Gives at least 1 vaccine shot to 15 million
The U.K. government says it has reached its goal of giving at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot to the most vulnerable people in the country, increasing pressure on ministers to clarify when they will ease a lockdown imposed in early January
10:01AM ( 53 minutes ago )
The Latest: US coronavirus cases continue to decline
Coronavirus cases are continuing to decline in the U.S. after a winter surge
9:56AM ( 58 minutes ago )
Ultra-Orthodox Londoners roll up sleeves to fight COVID
As people across England huddled indoors amid freezing temperatures and a national lockdown, almost 300 elderly men and women lined up outside a health center in northeast London to be vaccinated against COVID-19
9:29AM ( 1 hour ago )