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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Searching for Triumph in Uncharted Waters

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© Matthew Stockman / Employees – Getty Photographs Sport

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic didn’t win an ATP title within the opening three months of the season. Novak admitted it isn’t one thing he’s used to following a stunning Indian Wells defeat to Luca Nardi, hoping to show the tables and elevate a trophy within the upcoming clay occasions.

Since 2007 (18 years), Djokovic has claimed an ATP title by March in 15 seasons, dominating in Melbourne, Dubai, Indian Wells or Miami. The Serb missed the feat in 2018 after coping with an harm and once more in 2022 after coming into solely Dubai resulting from his vaccination standing.

Novak will journey to Monte Carlo with out an ATP title for the third time since 2007, struggling three losses in 2024 and in search of a greater run within the Principality.

Novak Djokovic, Indian Wells 2024© Clive Brunskill / Employees – Getty Photographs Sport

Djokovic kicked off the season on the United Cup, beating two rivals earlier than falling to Alex de Minaur.

The Serb struggled with a wrist harm and skilled a 6-4, 6-4 loss in an hour and 33 minutes. De Minaur outplayed Djokovic on serve and return, barely dropping a degree behind the primary serve and by no means going through a break level.

The Aussie performed aggressive tennis, attacking on the return and delivering one break in every set to seal the deal in fashion. Novak struggled with a minor virus on the Australian Open, defeating Dino Prizmic and Alexei Popyrin in 4 units however not enjoying at his greatest.

The defending champion seemed higher in opposition to Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Adrian Mannarino, beating them in straight units and reaching the final eight, his well-known territory in Melbourne. Novak needed to dig deep in opposition to Taylor Fritz in a 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win, prevailing after three hours and 45 minutes following a grueling battle within the opening two units.

Djokovic didn’t convert 15 break possibilities in units one and two, surviving within the opener earlier than dropping the second to maintain the rival in competition after practically two and a half hours! The solar went down, and Novak felt higher in units three and 4, delivering 4 breaks and ending Taylor’s resistance.

Thus, the defending champion organized a mouth-watering semi-final conflict in opposition to Jannik Sinner. The younger Italian introduced his A-game in a rock-solid 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 victory in three hours and 22 minutes, reaching his first Main last at 22.

Novak Djokovic, Indian Wells 2024© Clive Brunskill / Employees – Getty Photographs Sport

Novak Djokovic didn’t win an ATP title in first three months of the season.

Djokovic performed method under his greatest, struggling his first Australian Open defeat after passing the quarter-final stage!

The Serb sprayed over 50 unforced errors and didn’t create a break likelihood for the primary time in accomplished matches at Majors. Sinner tamed his strokes properly and grabbed 5 breaks from 11 alternatives, losing a match level within the third set however sealing the cope with a single break within the fourth.

Djokovic took a break and returned to motion in Indian Wells, competing within the desert for the primary time since 2019. Novak couldn’t produce his greatest tennis but once more, beating Aleksandar Vukic in three units earlier than falling to a fortunate loser Luca Nardi 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, experiencing an early exit.

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Djokovic wanted a abdomen tablet in opposition to world no. 123, elevating his stage within the second set however dropping floor within the decider. Novak clinched one level greater than Luca, however not the essential ones. The Italian confronted solely 4 break factors, dropping serve 4 occasions and delivering three breaks from 11 alternatives.

Nardi performed attacking tennis, trusting his strokes and staying composed regardless of dropping the second set. Novak had the higher hand within the shortest exchanges, and Luca erased the deficit within the extra superior ones. Nardi created the one break likelihood within the opening set, coming from 40-15 behind within the fifth sport.

Djokovic squandered sport factors and provided his rival a break likelihood after a forehand mistake.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Graham Denholm / Stringer – Getty Photographs Sport

Luca claimed it with a forehand winner, transferring in entrance and gaining a lift.

The Italian served for the set at 5-4, kicking off the sport with a volley winner and sealing it with an unreturned serve for 6-4 after 44 minutes. Novak stepped in on the return within the second set, delivering two breaks and forcing a decider.

Luca squandered a 40-0 lead within the second set and misplaced serve after enjoying a unfastened backhand. The third sport provided 5 break factors for Nardi, who received a degree after a questionable name and broke again. Djokovic grabbed one other break within the sixth sport, transferring 4-2 in entrance and holding at love in sport seven.

Nardi confronted two set factors on serve within the eighth sport and denied them with courageous hitting. Novak left these possibilities behind and seized the set with a backhand winner on serve artwork 5-3, forcing a decider after an hour and 33 minutes.

Djokovic saved three break factors within the second sport and held after 12 and a half minutes to stay on the optimistic aspect. They served nicely in video games three and 4, and Nardi landed a smash winner within the fifth for 3-2. Novak performed a unfastened service sport and confronted three break factors within the sixth sport after a forehand mistake.

Luca transformed the second, opening a 4-2 lead and transferring nearer to a stunning victory. The Italian closed the seventh sport with a service winner, forcing the Serb to serve to remain within the match. Djokovic grabbed the eighth sport at love, prolonging the motion and searching for one final likelihood on the return at 3-5.

As a substitute, the younger gun landed three winners at 15-15 within the ninth sport, sealing the deal in fashion and producing a career-best victory.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Employees – Getty Photographs Sport

“I may have finished every little thing in a different way in opposition to Luca, producing a poor stage.

I am with out an ATP title this yr, which I am not used to. Often, I begin a season with a Main title or a trophy in Dubai, Indian Wells, or Miami. It isn’t the case in 2024, and that is high quality; I’ve to just accept that. I hope to win the primary title of the season quickly and maintain going.

I’ve not been near my greatest on the final three or 4 tournaments, and a title would break the unfavourable cycle a bit,” Novak Djokovic mentioned.

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