Despite concerns about his injured left hamstring, Djokovic pushed forward in his quest for a 10th Australian Open title with a commanding win over Dimitrov, advancing to the fourth round on Saturday.
Despite a hamstring injury, Djokovic once again proved his resilience by defeating Dimitrov in straight sets, securing a spot in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Though he had previously expressed concerns about his injury after needing a medical timeout and losing a set to French qualifier Enzo Couacaud, his victory against the 27th seed Dimitrov provided a clearer understanding of his physical condition.
Despite a setback during the first set, Djokovic persevered and ultimately emerged victorious, winning 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, 6-4. Though he required another medical timeout after falling to the floor, and appeared to be in discomfort at times, he was able to push through and secure the win.
Djokovic expressed the challenges he faced with his injury, stating, “It’s a roller coaster, honestly. It starts well, but then some movement makes it worse. The pills and cream help for a bit, but then it doesn’t. It’s a lot of energy mentally and physically, to play the match while also dealing with the injury.”
Djokovic acknowledged the difficulties of his injury, saying “It is what it is, it’s the circumstances I have to accept. I’m just grateful I can play. Before the tournament started, I thought it wouldn’t be possible. I’m still here and still hanging on. I don’t know what will happen, but I hope and have faith for the best.”
Djokovic has a history of pushing through injury, as evidenced by his ninth title win at the Australian Open despite tearing an abdominal muscle just two years ago. His opponents will not underestimate his determination to win a tenth title, despite the challenges he faces with his left hamstring injury. In the match against Dimitrov, Djokovic was visibly hampered by the injury, but he was able to overcome it and took an early lead by breaking Dimitrov’s serve in the first game.
Despite Djokovic’s early lead, Dimitrov came back strong, saving three set points at 5-3 and breaking Djokovic’s serve. Djokovic had to fight hard to keep the set, saving two set points, one at 5-6 and one in the tie-break. Eventually, Djokovic clinched the set with a volley, but instead of celebrating, he collapsed on the court with a somber expression and called for the trainer, showing the effort the injury was taking on him.
Djokovic’s pain was clear as he received treatment on his injured muscle during the match, but he was still able to move around the court with relative ease, particularly while running along the baseline. This could be due to his previous success against Dimitrov, having won 9 out of their 10 previous meetings. Though Dimitrov tried to make the match difficult for Djokovic, he still managed to find a way to come out on top, despite falling to the court twice more during the match.
The Serbian, who is into the fourth round for the 15th time, will next play Australia’s Alex de Minaur.