Melbourne Australia — Novak Djokovic He paused his service routine and commenced vigorously extending his left leg. He has simply seven factors left to wrap up his third spherical match on the Australian Open Grigor DimitrovHowever he was clearly in ache.
Djokovic’s left hamstring has prompted him grief throughout his first week right here in Melbourne. His mobility and mobility have been hampered, but he gave up only one set en path to the final 16 whereas chasing a record-equalling twenty second main title.
His run proved eerily just like what occurred in 2021, when he nursed a slash tear to his ninth Australian Open crown.
On Monday evening, Djokovic will face Australian hopeful and twenty second seed Alex de Minor —who equaled his finest residence slam consequence with a third-round victory over the Frenchman Benjamin Ponzi – for a spot within the quarter-finals.
Djokovic and De Minaur have by no means met in skilled competitors. The primary encounter, scheduled to happen in prime time at Rod Laver Area, is ready to be a stellar showdown.
“Taking part in in entrance of you guys, I do not know what number of of you may be on my facet,” Djokovic joked to the gang after his victory over Dimitrov. “It’ll be nice, I am positive, and I am trying ahead to it.”
Why would Novak Djokovic win?
Djokovic doesn’t lose at Rod Laver Area. Scratch that, he isn’t shedding in Australia. The 35-year-old celebrity has gained 37 consecutive singles matches on Australian soil, together with three consecutive Australian Open titles between 2019 and 2021.
He thrives in circumstances and handles stress higher than anybody else, giving him an enormous edge over de Minaur, who performed simply 5 home-court video games within the slam dunk to a 3-2 document.
Regardless of a hamstring concern and enjoying far beneath his devastating finest, Djokovic has managed to boost his bar in key moments at this match – an indicator of his profession. after France Enzo Quacode Tied at one set within the second spherical, Djokovic staggered 12 of his subsequent 14 matches to run away with the match.
The final day out in opposition to Dimitrov, Djokovic performed his finest tennis within the first set tie-break, earlier than taking a number of break alternatives later within the match.
Djokovic may additionally profit from De Minaur’s serve, which has let him down to this point on this match. De Minaur gained some low cost factors with him, scoring simply 21 aces over his first three matches, and managing to serve his first serve solely 58% of the time. Injured or not, Djokovic will punish him if he does not enhance on the sphere.
And do not underestimate the psychological facet of this recreation. It have to be irritating for any participant, not to mention these within the high 30 – like Dimitrov – to throw the whole lot at an injured Djokovic and nonetheless fail to win a set.
Why Alex de Minor would win
If Djokovic can draft a fourth-round opponent, De Minaur will probably be on the backside of his record.
It is no secret that Djokovic does not transfer as freely as he’d like or as we would count on, so dealing with an opponent who thinks he is “the quickest participant on tour” will probably be a major check of his physique.
De Minaur’s recreation shouldn’t be fully completely different from Djokovic’s, constructed on protection and the flexibility to pressure his opponent to play the shot and discover a well beyond. He’s a really disciplined participant and won’t make many errors. Via his three matches, de Minaur’s opponents have dedicated 49 extra unforced errors than he has.
Djokovic hasn’t persistently hit the ball as shortly this fortnight, which means discovering winners in opposition to De Minaur will probably be a problem. If he begins to wrestle together with his hamstring and appears to pressure the difficulty, that would play into the palms of the Aussie.
“I am simply going to should take it to him and I am not going to shrink back from the event,” De Minaur mentioned earlier than the encounter. “I am going to ensure I make it as onerous as I can. I am not going to learn a lot about that damage.”
Whereas Djokovic has eluded Dimitrov, De Minaur can have the gang firmly in his nook. The 23-year-old is the final remaining particular person hope for the Australian staff at this yr’s match.
What is going to occur?
Taking over Djokovic in Melbourne, irrespective of how injured he could also be, is a idiot’s errand. His profession document on the Australian Open is 85-8, which highlights simply how troublesome it’s to beat him on the blue Plexiglas cushion. Nevertheless, De Minaur won’t be straightforward, and he’s adequate to make his personal. Djokovic to win 4.