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With Djokovic’s leg OK, he sees Australian title real looking

With Djokovic’s leg OK, he sees Australian title real looking

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — It took a couple of week for Novak Djokovic to go from worrying about whether or not he merely may play a match in any respect on his injured left hamstring to considering he can win the Australian Open.

And one pain-free, almost excellent efficiency within the fourth round Monday made a world of distinction.

“Tonight, the way in which I performed, the way in which I felt, offers me motive now to consider that I can go all the way in which,” Djokovic mentioned after fully overwhelming Twenty second-seeded Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 to achieve the quarterfinals for the thirteenth time at Melbourne Park and 54th time in any respect Grand Slam tournaments.

“I imply, I all the time consider I can go all the way in which, when it comes to my tennis,” continued Djokovic, whose 21 main championships embody 9 in Australia. “However the way in which my leg felt earlier than tonight wasn’t giving me too many hopes, so to say, for your entire event, to go throughout. Tonight I really feel that, so I really feel optimistic about it.”

A yr in the past, he bought kicked in another country earlier than the Australian Open as a result of he was not vaccinated towards COVID-19. He nonetheless hasn’t gotten the photographs, however the authorities’s coronavirus guidelines have been relaxed.

After searching of joint sometimes in his first three matches within the event final week, typically stumbling to the bottom, typically in search of therapy from a coach, the 35-year-old from Serbia appeared like his standard versatile, court-covering, dominant self at Rod Laver Enviornment towards de Minaur.

Djokovic gained 42 of 64 factors that lasted 5 photographs or extra. He gathered a 26-9 edge in winners. He gained all 12 of his service video games, by no means dealing with a single break level. Usually thought of the most effective returner within the sport now — and, maybe, ever — Djokovic earned a dozen break possibilities and transformed half.

He broke to steer 4-2 within the first set and once more to finish it. He broke to go up 2-0 and 4-0 within the second. He broke for benefits of 1-0 and 3-0 within the third.

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“It simply felt like fixed stress in the present day. Each service sport I had, wasn’t getting free factors. It felt like an uphill battle from the beginning,” de Minaur mentioned. “By no means actually was in a position to get my tooth into the match, make it powerful for him, or deliver the stress moments and conditions.”

Djokovic mentioned he felt “improbable” and “actually nice when it comes to mobility and motion.”

Along with taking “rather a lot” of anti-inflammatory tablets to assist the hamstring, Djokovic mentioned he has been utilizing “totally different remedies and machines and stuff” to assist enhance his leg. He additionally cautioned that he doesn’t “need to have a good time too early, ’trigger I don’t know the way the physique’s going to reply tomorrow and for the following match.”

Sure, there are nonetheless contests to come back and gamers to deal with.

His upcoming opponent is No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev, who will head into their matchup Wednesday with an 0-6 report in Grand Slam quarterfinals. That day’s different males’s match can be between two unseeded People of their 20s who’ve by no means been this far at a significant event: Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul.

The lads’s quarterfinals scheduled for Tuesday: No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas towards unseeded Jiri Lehecka, and No. 18 Karen Khachanov vs. No. 29 Sebastian Korda.

Of the seven remaining males apart from Djokovic, none has gained a Grand Slam title and solely Tsitsipas ever has even reached a significant ultimate, and that was simply as soon as, shedding to — yep, you guessed it — Djokovic on the French Open in 2021.

“I’ve been on this state of affairs so many occasions earlier than,” Djokovic mentioned, leaning again in his chair and inserting each palms on his chest. “From that perspective I believe it helps me have sort of a extra, let’s say, clear method to the remaining days of the event and what I have to do. After all, I’ll regulate all the opposite matches, see how the opposite guys are doing. We’ll see what occurs.”

De Minaur, for one, is aware of what he thinks goes to occur.

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“What I skilled in the present day was most likely Novak very near his finest, I might say,” he mentioned. “To me, if that’s the extent, I believe he’s undoubtedly the man that’s going to take the title.”

___

AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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