Melbourne: In a roller coaster of a match, Novak Djokovic, a 10-time champion showcased his resilience, holding off home favorite, Alexei Popyrin with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 victory in the second round of Australian Open 2924, here at the the Rod Laver Arena.
The 36-year-old Serbian maestro, grappling with a wrist issue, found himself in peril mid-match, teetering on the edge at 4-5 in the third set. However, in a testament to his championship mentality, Djokovic conjured magic, saving four set points from 0/40 and seizing control of the match. As he navigated through the challenges, Djokovic extended his remarkable Australian Open winning streak to an impressive 30 matches.
The pursuit of a record-extending 25th Grand Slam title remained firmly within his grasp, but it wasn’t just history on the line. The coveted No 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings hung in the balance, with young guns Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev eager to dethrone the Serbian titan.
With the clock ticking past three hours and eleven minutes, Djokovic’s journey at Melbourne Park took another intriguing turn. His next adversary, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, emerged victorious in a straight-sets triumph against Gael Monfils.
The 30th-seeded Argentine set the stage for a showdown against the World No. 1, who holds a 2-0 lead in their Lexus ATP head-to-head series, triumphing in ATP Masters 1000 events in Rome and Paris in 2023.
The narrative of Djokovic’s quest for tennis supremacy in Melbourne continued to captivate fans worldwide. As the spotlight intensified, the Serbian stalwart remained unfazed, ready to script another chapter in his storied career on the hallowed courts of the Australian Open.
India Open: Srikanth crashes out in opening round
New Delhi: Former world no1 Kidambi Srikanth was knocked out in the first round of the India Open, a BWF Super 750 badminton tournament, after he went down to Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong in straight games, 22-24, 13-21 here. The encounter marked Srikanth’s third loss to Lee in their four meetings, solidifying the Hong Kong player’s dominance in their head-to-head battles.
In the first game, Srikanth initially dominated the court and seized an early 2-point lead while engaging in a nail-biting battle against the formidable Lee from Hong Kong. His swift and strategic moves allowed him to surge ahead, commanding an impressive 11-7 lead by the time of mid-game break.
Meanwhile, Indian women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponappa and Tanisha Crasto faced an early exit from the India Open, a BWF Super 750 badminton tournament. The duo succumbed to a 5-21, 21-18, 11-21 defeat against the Thai pair of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.
The world no. 20 Indian pair failed to secure a great start, and their Thai counterparts asserted complete dominance since the beginning, swiftly establishing a commanding 8-0 lead. Although Ashwini-Tanisha managed to secure a few points in between, it proved insufficient for the Indians, as the Thai duo sustained their dominance and convincingly secured the opening game with a score of 21-5.
Images courtesy of Flickr and X@srikidambi