Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open: on one leg to the round of 16 – sport

Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open: on one leg to the round of 16 – sport

Novak Djokovic had his aching thigh kneaded and winced – but once again he defied all resistance. The tennis pro from Serbia has the Australian Open took the next step towards his 22nd Grand Slam triumph, struggling and practically on one leg. The 35-year-old ultimately lived up to his role as favorite against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and won 7: 6 (7), 6: 3, 6: 4.

“Physically it was up and down,” Djokovic said later: “It was an incredible fight.” Every season counts for him at the advanced professional age. The physical condition of the nine-time Melbourne winner continues to raise questions. He has been struggling with the persistent injury on the back of his thigh since the start of the tournament, but giving up is not an option for the exceptional athlete from Belgrade. He wants to make history and, after winning major titles, draw level with the injured Grand Slam record champion Rafael Nadal.

Against Dimitrov he asked for medical treatment after the tight first set and also in the third round, shortly before the end the title favorite fell to the ground after a rally. “To be honest, it’s not good at all,” Djokovic said after his second round win. Ultimately it is in God’s hands. Djokovic’s next opponent is Australian Alex de Minaur on Monday.

The marathon man, on the other hand, was eliminated Andy Murray. The three-time Grand Slam winner from Scotland lost to the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 1: 6, 7: 6 (7), 3: 6, 4: 6. Murray had earned the third round duel with two five-set wins, including the already legendary match over 5:45 hours against Thanasi Kokkinakis, who had stood in the square until after four in the morning. This sparked discussions about late seasons at Grand Slams. Murray tried everything against Bautista Agut, but the tough Spaniard was undeterred. And that makes Djokovic the only remaining professional in the field who has already won a Grand Slam tournament.

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