Two days after an abdominal injury, Novak Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the fourth round of the Australian Open on February 14.
Novak Djokovic is the second person in the Open Era to hit 300 wins at Grand Slam. He lost 45 games, since his first appearance at this level playing field in the 2005 Australian Open. Roger Federer was the only one to win more than Djokovic at the Grand Slam, with 362 wins.
The day before the Australian Open fourth round match, Novak Djokovic is still uncertain of the game. He has to wait for the scan results of his abdominal muscle injury to know if he is eligible to play or not. Concern from the organizers about seed number one dropping out, in the end, didn’t happen. Djokovic appeared at the Rod Laver Arena in the latest match of the day, meeting Milos Raonic.
The Serbian player started the game with elegant moves, with no signs of injury. He kept all of his hand games in the first set without facing a break point. On the other side of the net, Raonic also played for sure. Seed 14 twice faced the risk of losing the delivery game but were able to solve it, thus pulling Djokovic into the tie-break series.
Playing on par with Djokovic from the beginning of the game, but Raonic lost his rhythm in the series of brainstorming. Djokovic wins the first spot of the Canadian junior. Defending champions Australia Open lead 3-0 then 5-2, before closing the set with a 7-4 victory in the tie-break series.
The scenario in set two did not change much. The stable serve helps Djokovic and Raonic keep the game at the beginning of the set. But in game five, Djokovic did not serve well and failed repeatedly, allowing Raonic to win his first break-point in the match. The 30-year-old did not make the same mistake in the rest of the set to win 6-4.
The third set lasted for only 29 minutes due to Raonic’s sudden decline in form after calling medical attention. He lost the second delivery game, leaving his seniors a 4-1 lead soon. On game six, Djokovic has one more break-point, before easily finishing the set with the next game.
In the first eight games of the fourth set, Djokovic had only two chances of winning Raonic’s game, but he could not take advantage of it. But in the ninth game, Djokovic won the first three points in the opponent’s game. Raonic saved two break points but still lost this game when Djokovic returned an excellent delivery, the world’s number one player served well in the 10th game, and ended the match with a score of 6-4.
“I used every hour to recover from the third round, so there was no time to prepare for this,” Djokovic said after defeating Raonic. “Luckily my body is in a playable state. If it weren’t for the Grand Slam, I will definitely give up. I will continue with my recovery in the days to come.”
Djokovic will meet number six seed Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals taking place on February 16. Zverev eliminated fellow countryman of “Nole”, Dusan Lajovic with the score 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 in the fourth round.