The nine-time champion Novak Djokovic has advanced to the third round of the Australian Open, but things do not seem promising! Since Adelaide, Novak has been battling with a hamstring problem, and his matchup with Enzo Couacaud in the second round made it worse.
The Serb acknowledged that the injury is seriously affecting him and that he is unsure of what to expect going into the third-round matchup with Grigor Dimitrov. A qualifier was defeated by Novak in three hours and four minutes, 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, 6-0. He had trouble in the second set, but he improved to go to the round of 32 for the fifteenth time in Melbourne.
After the ninth game of the second set, Djokovic needed a medical break to tend to his left leg, which was already extensively wrapped. After losing in the tie break, he picked up the pace and dropped two games in sets two and three. With only one break point all game, Novak dominated with his first serve.
Out of 21 opportunities, he stole 46% of the return points and converted them into seven breaks. The Serb had three break chances in the second set but blew them to keep the opponent in the match, which would have allowed him to win the match early.
In the fourth game of the first match, Enzo twisted his right ankle while attempting to reach a ball at the net. He needed a medical timeout, and the rest of the set was difficult for him. In game six, Novak broke once again to extend his lead to 5-1. He then finished the set with a service winner in game seven.
Having trouble with a hamstring ailment is Novak Djokovic.
In the second set, the Frenchman felt better and made a few easy holds to keep the score at 3-3. Following Enzo’s ace in game seven, Novak squandered a break opportunity and began to have left leg pain in the following games.
In order to keep the rival alive in game 11, the Serb needed treatment and missed two additional break opportunities. Couacaud overcame all the challenges and came back in the tie break after falling behind 3-0. At 5-5, Novak committed a double error, and then on his opponent’s subsequent set point, he shot a backhand long to concede the set and cast doubt on his performance.
In the third set, Djokovic got off to a fresh start and produced hold after strong hold to keep the pressure on the opposition. In game two, he defeated Couacaud and won the second set point at 5-2 to advance toward the finish line.
Novak took the lead with a break in the second game of the fourth set, and he then held off the only other opportunity for a break in the following game to take a 3-0 lead. In the fourth game, Enzo sprayed a backhand error, losing serve once more and bringing the world no. 5 closer to the finish line. For two match points, Novak converted a drop shot winner in the sixth game. He then won the first game with a backhand down the line winner to win the match and go to the next round. “To be completely honest, it is awful.
All I can say at this point is that I felt better in my prior match than I did tonight. God and physical therapy must help me. I must approach it day by day. In order to prepare for a challenging encounter against Grigor in the next round, I’m hoping to recover “said Novak Djokovic.