Australian Open: Djokovic gets past Fritz but could face tournament KO after injury blow

By Sports Desk February 12, 2021

Novak Djokovic survived a huge injury scare to get past Taylor Fritz in the Australian Open third round - but his title defence could be in ruins.

The world number one and eight-time champion in Melbourne edged Fritz 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.

But the 17-time grand slam winner appeared to injure his abdominal region during the third set of the contest, which started on Friday in front of a crowd and finished on Saturday without fans as Victoria went into a five-day lockdown due to coronavirus concerns.

Fritz appeared set to reach the fourth round for the first time in his major career, but Djokovic suddenly came to life in the fifth set.

Next up for Djokovic is Milos Raonic, who he has beaten in all 11 of their meetings, but whether the Serbian is fit enough to play remains to be seen.

Djokovic told Eurosport he suspected he had suffered a torn muscle and that it was "in the clouds" whether he would be able to continue in the tournament.

Djokovic broke for 3-1 against Fritz and crucially dug himself out of a 15-40 hole in the seventh game, but a forehand into the net saw him fail to serve out the set.

Yet Djokovic was close to flawless in the tie-break, winning the first six points before closing it out, and then breaking to begin the second set.

That spurred Djokovic to win the second before the drama followed.

He took a medical timeout after the third game of the third set and then repeatedly required treatment on his abdominal region.

The injury seemed to be bothering Djokovic, who was broken after sending a forehand long in the eighth game, and Fritz closed out the set.

A struggling Djokovic was broken again in the third game of the fourth set before fans were forced to leave Rod Laver Arena ahead of restrictions being introduced in Victoria, but Fritz levelled the match.

Djokovic looked far healthier to begin the final set and he broke for 4-2 with a brilliant forehand winner after a baseline exchange, winning four straight games on his way to a post-midnight victory.

Data Slam: Djokovic's American dominance continues … just
Djokovic extended his winning streak against Americans at tour level to 17 matches. His last loss to an American opponent came against Sam Querrey at Wimbledon in 2016.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 52/53
Fritz – 62/45

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 15/5
Fritz – 24/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 4/9
Fritz – 3/12

Related items

  • Daria Kasatkina defeats Shelby Rogers in the Silicon Valley Classic final Daria Kasatkina defeats Shelby Rogers in the Silicon Valley Classic final

    Daria Kasatkina continued her strong season on Sunday by defeating American Shelby Rogers 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-2 in the final of the Silicon Valley Classic.

    Russia's Kasatkina made her deepest grand slam run earlier this year by reaching the semi-final of the French Open, where she lost to world number one Iga Swiatek, and with this singles title – the fifth of her WTA career – she has claimed a career-best ranking of ninth in the world.

    Against Rogers, the story was how the effectiveness of Kasatkina's serve continued to improve the further the match went on.

    In the hard-fought opening set, Kasatkina won just 53 per cent (26-of-49) of her service points, allowing two breaks of serve and then flailing in the tie-break to drop five consecutive points.

    Something changed from that point on, with Kasatkina improving to take 69 per cent (18-of-26) of her service points in the second frame, and that jumped again to 76 per cent (16-of-21) in the decider as she either figured something out, or Rogers ran out of steam.

    Kasatkina did not allow a single break point opportunity after the first set, while converting four of her six chances to take a double-break in both the second and third.

    Rogers had not lost a single set in her four matches to make it to the final, putting the exclamation point on a terrific run from Kasatkina that included wins over world number 27 Elena Rybakina, world number six Aryna Sabalenka and world number three Paula Badosa.

  • Nick Kyrgios wins the singles and doubles titles at the Washington Open Nick Kyrgios wins the singles and doubles titles at the Washington Open

    Nick Kyrgios capped off a terrific week at the Washington Open by beating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4 6-3 in the singles final, before combining with Jack Sock to also win the doubles 7-5 6-4 against the team of Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek.

    In the singles, Kyrgios' serve was overpowering against his Japanese opponent, winning 76 per cent (38-of-50) of his points on serve, and saving the only break point opportunity he faced, which came early in the opening set.

    His return game was also sharp, collecting breaks of serve in the first game of each set to snatch all the momentum and keep Nishioka on the back foot and chasing all day.

    Kyrgios finished with 12 aces to Nishioka's three, and finished the match just like he started it with a break of serve.

    It caps off a tournament where he dropped only one set in his six matches – against Frances Tiafoe in the quarter-final – to win his first singles title since this same event back in 2019.

    Just a few hours later, Kyrgios was back on the court with Sock contesting the doubles final, with the pair saving both break points they faced. 

    After an even start, Kyrgios and Sock broke late in the first set, and then struck again to break in the opening game of the second set, going on to serve things out comfortably, never allowing Dodig and Krajicek to even reach deuce against their serve.

    In doing so, Kyrgios became the first player to ever sweep both the singles and doubles in Washington.

    He only had one doubles title before this season – back at the Lyon Open in 2018, also partnered with Sock – but Kyrgios has now won three in the past eight months, emerging triumphant with fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis at both the Australian Open and last month's Atlanta Open.

  • Samsonova wins her second career WTA title with Citi Open final defeat of Kanepi Samsonova wins her second career WTA title with Citi Open final defeat of Kanepi

    Liudmila Samsonova secured her second career singles title on the WTA Tour by defeating Kaia Kanepi in the final of the Citi Open.

    Unseeded Russian Samsonova beat Estonian Kanepi 4-6 6-3 6-3 to take the title in Washington on Sunday.

    It was Kanepi, the tournament's sixth seed, who struck first in a tight opening set with strong serving from both players, capitalising on the only break point opportunity in the 10th game.

    While Samsonova won at least 70 per cent of her service points in each of the three sets, Kanepi's effectiveness dipped after the opener, with a 77 per cent (20-of-26) success rate in the first set, which dropped to 63 per cent (15-of-24) in the second and the third (12-of-19) to provide the Russian with an avenue back into the contest.

    Kanepi led 3-2 in the second set, before Samsonova rattled off the next five games, securing a double break in the process and forcing a decider.

    In a tight third frame, with Samsonova leading 4-3, she created three break point opportunities and only needed the first to grab a winning buffer, serving out the match for the title.

    It is the 23-year-old's first singles title since her maiden victory at the German Open 14 months ago, and she only dropped two sets in the process while defeating fifth seed Elise Mertens, second seed Emma Raducanu, China's Wang Xiyu and Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.