ADELAIDE (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic overcame an injury scare midway through his match against Daniil Medvedev on Saturday to mow down the Russian 6-3 6-4 and storm into the Adelaide International 1 final, where he will take on unseeded American Sebastian Korda.
In a blockbuster Australian Open warm-up meeting between the two former world number ones it was 21-times Grand Slam champion Djokovic who shot out of the blocks quickest, as he surged to a 4-2 lead in the opening set.
Djokovic was in some discomfort in the seventh game after hyper-extending his left hamstring while stretching to make a forehand, but he soldiered on and pulled off an exquisite lob before taking a medical timeout for treatment.
The 35-year-old Serb claimed the opening set and raised his game at 3-3 in the next by producing a blistering return and a smooth pass at the net, before Medvedev surrendered his serve with a double fault on breakpoint.
Djokovic saved a break point with a 200 kmh second serve before holding firm from there to seal a comfortable victory.
“Thankfully it was nothing too serious,” Djokovic said of his injury in an on-court interview. “If it was I wouldn’t be able to continue. I took anti-inflammatory (medication) and settled in.
“I was trying to keep the momentum going and not allow him to break my serve. That was the key. Eventually, I would get a chance. The longer the match went on, my hamstring got warmer and bothered me less.
“Hopefully for tomorrow it’ll be fine.”
The Jan. 16-29 Australian Open will be without world number one Carlos Alcaraz following his leg injury and the organisers of the Melbourne Park major would have endured tense moments after nine-times champion Djokovic clutched his leg.
“… For me at this level, at this stage of my career and my life after quite a few years of professional tennis, every match counts and every match is a present in a way,” Djokovic said.
“I try to give my best and win wherever I am.”
Up next for Djokovic is Korda, who reached the final after Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka retired due to an injury with the score at 7-6(5) 1-0.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)