Following his stunning default a month ago at the US Open, Novak Djokovic got another shot at Pablo Carreno Busta, this time in the French Open quarterfinals.
While Djokovic completed the match and won, dropping his first set of the event in a tougher-than-expected 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, the match wasn’t without drama.
Coming out on court, Djokovic had some kinesio tape on the back of his next, the same trouble spot he came into New York with. Then he was consistently flexing and messing with his left elbow and arm.
Djokovic proceeded to drop the first set but got some treatment for the apparent injury and was able to fight through it 3 hours, 10 minutes.
And afterward, the Serb admitted the injury was a concern.
“I definitely didn’t feel great coming into the court today. Few things happened in the warmup.
“I had to deal with those physical issues coming onto the court. As the match went on, I felt better, didn’t feel as much pain,” Djokovic said. “Especially for set and a half he was the better player, dictating the play. I was very neutral.”
“I didn’t have much of energy really happening in my legs or movement or game itself. It took me about set and a half to really get comfortable.
“I had some neck issues and some shoulder issues. I don’t want to get really too much into it.
“Obviously I’m still in the tournament, so I don’t want to reveal too much.”
Djokovic fought through the next issues to the title at the Cincinnati Masters which were held in New York, but he’ll now get a very in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas with potentially Rafael Nadal on Sunday.
“He’s one of the best players in the world, deservedly where he is in Rankings. He’s been playing the tennis of his life in the past 12 months,” Djokovic said of Tsitsipas. “He has an all-around game. He’s a big guy, big serve. He has weapons, obviously [his] serve and forehand, his backhand. He produces a lot of spin. He comes into the net. He can play aggressively. He can defend well because he moves well.”
Tsitsipas wasn’t looking like a semifinalist in his rematch with Andrey Rublev. Rublev jumped out to a 5-3 lead in the first but then things went off the rails for the Russian. His laser shots began to misfire and about an hour it was over Tsitsipas caught fire winning it going away 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.
“You cannot expect anything,” said Tsitsipas. “I wasn’t expecting playing semifinals of the Australian Open to start first. It’s a dream, of course. But ‘expect’? I’m expecting since a young age to potentially triumph at these Grand Slams. I’m happy that I’m able to be in a position where I am today. Yeah, it’s very, very satisfying.
“I think I can learn from the previous one. I’m chasing something spectacular.”
Djokovic and the Greek will meet in the second match on Friday.
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