Injury-hit Djokovic survives five-set thriller

Afp, Melbourne

13 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

An ailing Novak Djokovic overcame an abdominal "muscle tear" and jeers from a rowdy crowd Friday to outlast Taylor Fritz in the Australian Open, a five-set triumph he rated as one of his "most special".

Djokovic constantly grimaced afterwards but dug deep in the fifth set and wore down the big-serving 27th seed 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 in three hours and 25 minutes.

Ice-cool Dominic Thiem rallied from two sets down to tame flamboyant Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open in front of a raucous crowd hours before Melbourne goes into coronavirus lockdown.

A "happier" Simona Halep believed Friday she had emerged from a rut after a straight-sets demolition of Veronika Kudermetova revived her stuttering Australian Open campaign.

The aggressive world number two served strongly and pierced the lines to overwhelm the 32nd seed 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 18 minutes in the third round.