Novak Djokovic inched closer to a record-extending 10th Australian Open title after he overcame a sluggish start to defeat Tommy Paul 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals at Melbourne Park, here on Friday.
Novak Djokovic suffered an injury scare as a hamstring twinge forced him to cut short a practice match against Daniil Medvedev ahead of the Australian Open 2023.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion, who was deported from the Australian Open last year due to his vaccination status, played only one set against Medvedev before withdrawing. Djokovic played for just under 40 minutes on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, his first appearance in Melbourne since being forced to flee the country last year.
The Serb, who is seeded fourth for this month’s major in Melbourne, injured his hamstring last week while winning the Adelaide International 1.
“I just felt it pulling and I didn’t want to risk anything worse. I played a set and apologised to him [Medvedev] and he was understanding. I just want to avoid any bigger scares before the Australian Open,” Skysports quoted Djokovic as saying.
Djokovic defeated Medvedev in the first game, but then received treatment while leading 3-2 and went on to win only one more game.
Djokovic’s three-year visa ban was lifted in November, allowing him to compete for a 10th Australian Open title when the tournament begins on January 16.
The 35-year-old has won 34 consecutive matches in Australia, with his only loss coming to Hyeon Chung of South Korea at the 2018 Australian Open.
In the absence of injured world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, defending champion Nadal is the top seed at the 2023 Australian Open.