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Djokovic In Fitness Race After Fritz Thriller

  • Posted: Feb 12, 2021

Novak Djokovic showed great physical and mental strength to overcome injury and an in-form Taylor Fritz over five sets at the Australian Open on Friday night.

Following his three-hour, 25-minute triumph against the American, the World No. 1 discussed the unfortunate moment that caused his injury and what happened during his off-court medical timeout.

“[In the] beginning of the third set, I made this quick move on the return going to the forehand, rotating there, and I just felt a tear, I felt something happen,” said Djokovic. “[I] went out for a medical timeout where I was tested [and] evaluated. I have huge pain. I took the highest dose of anti-inflammatories possible.”

When Djokovic returned to the court, he was unable to stop Fritz from taking the next two sets as he struggled with his game, particularly on the forehand side. In a one-set shootout for a place in the fourth round, Djokovic took consistent risks on his second serve and claimed two breaks to reach the Australian Open Round of 16 for the 14th time.

“I honestly don’t know how I won this match,” said Djokovic. “I’m very proud. At the same time, [I am] sad and worried, because it’s definitely something serious happening with my injury. I don’t have much time to recover for the next match.”

Djokovic is due to meet Milos Raonic on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals. The 17-time Grand Slam champion is taking all precautions to give himself the best possible chance of being ready to contest his 12th ATP Head2Head encounter against the Canadian (Djokovic leads 11-0).

“[I am] definitely not training tomorrow,” said Djokovic. “I’m coming here to evaluate further with [the] doctor and medical team, and do some ultrasound. [I will then] understand what’s really going on, so that the doctor and medical team can prescribe [the] best possible treatment, and the only [way] that I could even have the slightest chance to go out in less than 48 hours.”

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Fritz: 'The Big Three Are Built Differently'

  • Posted: Feb 12, 2021

After losing to Novak Djokovic, who was battling with an abdominal injury, 7-6(1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 at the Australian Open on Friday, Taylor Fritz stated that the World No. 1 and his Big Three rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are “built differently” and born to be great tennis players.

“I think a lot of it is just the desire and the passion and wanting it, and I don’t think it’s something that these guys develop,” said Fritz. “I think it’s something that you’re born with. They’re just kind of built differently.”

After losing to Djokovic, Fritz is now 0-6 in third round matches at Grand Slam championships.

“I think that I want it just as bad, and I have the passion and desire just as much, but I still need to develop my game so I can show it. It doesn’t matter how bad you want it, if you’re not better than the other person.

“I think these guys, they just want it… It’s something that people have or they don’t have, and that’s what makes someone a champion.”

Fritz, the No. 27 seed, beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the Australian Open first round and overcame his fellow American Reilly Opelka in five sets in the second round.

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Kyrgios: 'I Left It All Out There'

  • Posted: Feb 12, 2021

Nick Kyrgios was left to rue missed opportunities against Dominic Thiem on Friday, but he remained upbeat about his performances at the Australian Open.

Kyrgios led two-sets-to-love and held two break points on Thiem’s serve in the opening game of the third set, but did not convert those opportunities and went on to lose 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 21 minutes.

“If I take one of those break points early in the third set, I think the match is over in an hour and 45 minutes,” said Kyrgios. “I could definitely feel he was going away towards the end of the second [set].”

The 25-year-old Kyrgios was playing just his sixth tour-level match since returning to competition after an 11-month absence. He reached the third round at last week’s Murray River Open (l. to Coric).

“Tonight, I was a massive underdog,” said Kyrgios. “I left it all out there. I put myself in a position to win. That wasn’t the case against [Ugo] Humbert [in the second round]. My back was against the wall the entire time. I was up two-sets-to-love tonight, and he came back and he won.

“I’m not taking any shame in losing in five sets to the Australian Open finalist and the US Open champion… I’m not probably in the best physical shape I have been in. But I tried to bring what I had and it wasn’t enough. I fell short. I’m all right with that.

“I’m not upset at all. I’m actually not disappointed that I lost. I’m going [to] come with my head held high tomorrow, play some doubles [with Thanasi Kokkinakis and] see what tennis I’ll play this year. If I can continue to perform like that, I’m sure that the results will follow.”

Playing in front of a big crowd, Kyrgios praised Thiem on how he used the support of the John Cain Arena to his advantage for a place in the Australian Open fourth round.

“I think Thiem actually drew some energy from everyone kind of against him almost,” said Kyrgios. “He’s played on the biggest stages in the world, so I don’t think he was rattled at all. One thing I noticed about him, maybe [at] two-sets-to-love down, he was always positive. He didn’t show any negative emotion. He knew there was a long way to go in that match.

“It was an amazing atmosphere. The energy out there was special. But I’m still proud of myself. I was 11 months away from the game, and to produce that level and go toe-to-toe with one of the best players in the world, I’m pretty proud. I actually physically felt pretty good. I’m sore now.”

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Raonic Makes It Eight In Melbourne

  • Posted: Feb 12, 2021

Milos Raonic made it through to the Australian Open Round of 16 for the eighth time on Friday, as he overcame Marton Fucsovics 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

The 14th seed landed 47 winners and won 71 per cent of his net points (25/35) to advance in three hours and 13 minutes. With his third win in as many ATP Head2Head encounters against Fucsovics, Raonic improved to 34-10 at Melbourne Park.

Raonic found his best level when it mattered most in the first set. The Canadian landed multiple aces, ripped a forehand winner from outside the tramline and forced Fucsovics into backhand errors to dominate the tie-break and take a one-set lead.

Fucsovics responded well in the second set with an early break. Despite failing to consolidate his advantage, the Hungarian levelled the match by breaking serve at 6-5 with multiple forehand winners.

Fucsovics began to struggle with his movement in the third set and Raonic took full advantage. The 2016 semi-finalist earned back-to-back service breaks in both the third and fourth sets to claim his spot in the Round of 16.

The 30-year-old will attempt to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the sixth time on Sunday. Raonic will face the winner of eight-time champion Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz’s third-round clash on Rod Laver Arena.

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