Novak Djokovic 'Honoured' To Participate In Nadal Rivalry As Ambitions Remain High - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic ‘Honoured’ To Participate In Nadal Rivalry As Ambitions Remain High

Novak Djokovic is honoured to share a long rivalry with Rafael Nadal as he looks ahead to his third round match with Salvatore Caruso.

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Novak Djokovic (@RolandGarros - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic is ‘honoured’ to have a long rivalry for Rafael Nadal as he remains ambitions about his chances in Paris. 

 

The world number one was asked about his rivalry with Rafael Nadal after his second round win over Swiss Lucky Loser Henri Laaksonen.

After dropping only eight games in the 93 minute contest, the Serb was asked about his long rivalry with the 11 time Roland Garros Champion.

In his response the Serb explained how honoured he was to share much of his career with the Spaniard,We have faced each other I think most of any two players that faced each other in history. And it keeps going,” Djokovic explained in his press conference.

“I am the player I am today because of him, for sure, and because of the rivalries we had because of the fact that he was always making me improve, and I think it’s also vice versa, it’s other way around.

“I’m really honored to be part of, you know, one of the greatest rivalries in sport. I think because of the rivalry that we have, and because, you know, for the last ten years that I was very fortunate to be in top of the men’s game.

“It’s one of my biggest motivations is to, you know, to win against Rafa or Roger, you know, on the biggest events. That’s as big of a challenge as it can get in tennis for me.” 

Although Djokovic may be praising his nearest rival, the potential match between the duo in the final this year is still a long way away as both seem to be cruising to the second week.

Next up for the top seed is Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso, who Djokovic admitted he doesn’t know much about, Don’t know much about him, to be honest. It’s really interesting, third match in a row that I get to play against someone that I have never faced before in a match,” Djokovic admitted.

But that’s good, because there is a shift of generations and new players coming up. Again, I’m going to have to do my homework, do analysis on him. I’m sure he’s going to be very motivated to, you know, to play his best.”

Should Djokovic win against Caruso, he will head into the second week as joint-favourite for the title as Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem are among the men willing to stop him from the dream final against Nadal.

 

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Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.

 

He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.

Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.

Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.

“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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Stan Wawrinka edges Danil Medvedev in a five-set thriller to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka reached the quarter final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career with a 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over fourth seed and 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev after 3 hours and 25 minutes. Wawrinka qualified for the last eight for the first time since 2017.

 

Wawrinka earned his first break in the fourth game, when Medvedev sent his backhand long. Wawrinka did not convert two more break points in the sixth game before breaking for the second time at love to close out the opening set 6-2 after 32 minutes. Wawrinka won 85% of his first serve points and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors in the opening set.

Medvedev broke in the third game of the second set to open up a 3-1 lead, when Wawrinka netted his forehand. The Russian player clinched the second set with three service winners at 5-2 to level the score.

Medvedev broke serve in the seventh game of the third set after a backhand error from Wawrinka and closed out the set with a service winner in the 10th game.

Wawrinka wasted a break point in the fourth game of the fourth set. Both players traded service holds en route to the tie-break. Wawrinka earned an immediate mini-break to open up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. The former Australian Open champion hit a half-volley winner to cruise to a 5-2 lead and converted his first set point, when Medvedev netted a backhand in the ninth point.

Wawrinka broke Medvedev at 15 in the first game of the fifth set and saved three break points at 2-1. Wawrinka went up a double break in the seventh game and forced an error from Medvedev to wrap up the match, as he was serving for the win in the eighth game.

Wawrinka set up a quarter final against Alexander Zverev, who beat Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4. Zverev beat Wawrinka twice in their two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

“That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere. It was really tough to play against Danil. It was really tough to play against Danil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is something special here in Australia. I am finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I am happy with the result”,said Wawrinka.

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