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Melbourne: Men’s round-up – Djokovic defies hamstring problem – Ruud and Fritz out – Sport


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The Serb concedes a set against Enzo Couacaud but progresses. Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz fail early.

The top players

  • Novak Djokovic (SRB/ATP 5) s. Enzo Couacaud (FRA/ATP 191) 6:1, 6:7 (5:7), 6:2, 6:0
  • Jenson Brooksby (USA/ATP 39) s. Casper Ruud (NOR/ATP 3) 6:3, 7:5, 6:7 (4:7), 6:2
  • Andrej Rublew (RUS/ATP 6) v. Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN/ATP 46) 6:2, 6:4, 6:7 (2:7), 6:3
  • Alexei Popyrin (AUS/ATP 113/WC) s. Taylor Fritz (USA/ATP 8) 6:7 (4:7), 7:6 (7:2), 6:4, 6:7 (6:8), 6:2
  • Holger Rune (DEN/ATP 10) vs. Maxime Cressy (USA/ATP 41) 7:5, 6:4, 6:4
  • Michael Mmoh (USA/ATP 107/LL) s. Alexander Zverev (GER/ATP 13) 6:7 (1:7), 6:4, 6:3, 6:2
  • Andy Murray (GBR/ATP 66) sees Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS/ATP 159) 4: 6, 6: 7 (4: 7), 7: 6 (7: 5), 6: 3, 7: 5

Title favorite Novak Djokovic took the next hurdle on the way to his 22nd Grand Slam title, but revealed problems with his injured thigh again. After a problem-free first set, Djokovic had to have his left thigh treated against French qualifier Enzo Couacaud in the second round. Afterwards Djokovic’s condition improved visibly – he left the world number 191. in the further course of the match no longer come close to winning a set. In round three, the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (ATP 27) is waiting for the 35-year-old.

Djokovic complains about drunk spectators

The remaining favorites, on the other hand, continue to struggle. After the world ranking 1. Carlos Alcaraz (injured) and Rafael Nadal (ATP 2) also came Casper Ruud (ATP 3) not far. The 24-year-old Norwegian lost to the 22-year-old American Jenson Brooksby (ATP 39) in 4 sets. Brooksby earned 3 match points in the 3rd round with 5:3 and his own serve. After the detour via the 4th set, he took the win an hour later. Ruud’s departure comes as a big surprise. The Norwegian owed his rise in the world rankings primarily to exceptionally good results on hard courts. After Nadal’s departure, he was one of 4 players who could have become world No. 1 after the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas remain in the race for the lead. If neither of these two wins the tournament, Alcaraz will remain at the top of the rankings despite their absence.

The Russian Andrei Rublev could not be stopped in the 2nd round of Melbourne. The world number 6 started wide awake against Emil Ruusuvuori. After the sovereign 1st set, Rublew slacked off for a short time, which culminated in a 2:7 in the tie-break and thus the lost 3rd round. But Rublew didn’t want to take a longer detour: In the 4th set he pulled away 4:1 like at the beginning and didn’t let the victory be taken away from him. Briton Daniel Evans (ATP 30) is waiting in the sixteenth final.

For Taylor Fritz the Australian Open 2023 is over after the 2nd round. In Melbourne, the Californian was surprisingly defeated by the Australian Alexei Popyrin, who started with a wildcard on the Yarra River. Popyrin, who won the ATP 250 tournament in Singapore in February 2021, prevailed in 5 sets. The 23-year-old from Sydney is in the sixteenth finals for the third time after 2019 and 2020 at his home slam.

The Grand Slam comeback of Alexander Zverev came to an end in the 2nd round. The 25-year-old lost against the American Michael Mmoh in 4 sets and thus missed the third round in Melbourne for the first time since his debut in 2016. Seven and a half months after his serious foot injury in the French Open semifinals, the German made a strong start, but then increasingly lost his rhythm and built up his opponent with his own mistakes. After three and a half hours, Mmoh, who had moved into the main draw as a lucky loser, used his first match point.

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