A recovered Novak Djokovic shines in Australia
Novak Djokovic managed to win the day. He won in the round of 16 at the Australian Open.
After a sluggish week, Novak Djokovic returned. Without feeling resentful of his left leg injury, the Serbian star showed himself to be the best. He was full this Monday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open with a lesson against the last local hope.
In just over two hours, the 35-year-old Serb endorsed the award. a resounding 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 against the Australian Álex de Minaur who, despite the support of the Rod Laver Arena public, could not do anything against the nine-time winner of this Grand Slam.
After three games at half throttle due to the discomfort of a muscle injury in his left leg, Djokovic jumped on the field. to the court determined to "win in three sets" and stand for the thirteenth time in the quarterfinals in Melbourne, where the Russian Andrey Rublev awaits.
“I've played the best game of this year so far,” said Rublev. the serbian. "I really wanted to win in three sets, you never know what to do. It's going to happen on the track, “added Mr. "Nole", who said "not having felt anything" on his leg.
Although the 23-year-old Australian, with a Uruguayan father and a Spanish mother, said in the preview that he was “prepared for battle”, the emotion lasted for a long time. Just four games, the time it took to get there. Djokovic stepped on the accelerator in search of the 22 Grand Slams of the Spanish Rafael Nadal.
With a streak of four games in a row and just four points against, the Serb closed the season. the first set and continued to play. This was the outrage in the second, in which a celebrated direct kick from De Minaur in the sixth game prevented the match from being played. the donut.
Four games in a row to start the last one decided the 25th; Djokovic's back-to-back victory in Melbourne. “If this is the level, I think he will definitely take the title,” said De Minaur, who said he had met “a Novak very close to his best version.”
In the quarterfinals, he will face Rublev’ to Rublev who, even before meeting his opponent, recognized that “no one wants to face Novak.”
With cold blood and a point of fortune, the Russian number six in the world prevailed in five sets (6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 [11/9]) against young Danish talent Holger Rune, who missed the opportunity. two match points and a 5-0 lead in the final tiebreaker.
To top it off, as in a nod to the movie "Match Point" of Woody Allen, the match was decided by with a backhand rest from Rublev who, after hitting the net, died on the net. I found myself in the field of a Rune who couldn't believe it.
"This is probably the luckiest moment of my life. Now I can go to the casino. If I bet, I'm sure I'll win”, said a relieved Rublev, who had come back from 5-2 down in the final set.
The 19-year-old Dane had so far not dropped a set in Melbourne, but he was trembling with fear. the doll in a meeting that ended in death. with 60 unforced errors and 12 double faults. "This one hurts a lot. It was very tight, I had my options” but “luck was on their side,” he said.
The other quarterfinal matchup in this part of the draw will be & aacute; 100% American between the young Ben Shelton, the first rookie to reach this round in 20 years, and Tommy Paul, who defeated the last Spaniard in the draw, Roberto Bautista.
Looking for his second quarterfinals in Australia after defeating the heroic Scotsman Andy Murray, Bautista was left behind. It was annulled against a Paul who, with direct aces, winning forehands and quick legs that reached numerous blows, ended up defeating him. prevailing 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
The one who does not hesitate is the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, undefeated in this 2023 in which he has not yet conceded a single set.
Sabalenka (N. 5) moved forward. She reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time after beating the Swiss Belinda Bencic, who managed to win the title. the first 'break' before conceding 11 of the next 14 games.
"I am very happy with this victory and my level of play," Croatian Donna Vekic to enter the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Instead, like the Polish Iga Swiatek or the American Coco Gauff, the French Caroline Garcia (No. 4) joined ; He was added to the list of eliminated favorites after losing in two sets against the Polish Magda Linette who will face the same matchup. She beat the Czech Karolina Pliskova in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Like Swiatek the day before, Garcia attributed the victory. the poor performance of her to the pressure of feeling favorite. "I have to work on it to manage it better. My own expectations are high and I might shoot myself in the foot,” said the Frenchwoman, who racked up a lot of money. up to 33 unforced errors.