January 21, (THEWILL) – In a closely contested match at the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic overcame injury, age and Grigor Dimitrov, to secure a 7-6(7) 6-3 6-4 win and reach the last 16 of the tournament.
The first set was a tightly contested battle, with Djokovic edging ahead and Dimitrov battling back to force a tie-break. Djokovic, despite feeling discomfort in his left leg, managed to take the tie-break 9-7.
In the second set, Djokovic moved 4-2 clear and then 6-3 to take a two-set lead. Despite Dimitrov’s efforts to mount a comeback, Djokovic’s experience and skill proved too much for the Bulgarian. Djokovic then took a medical timeout after 77 minutes of play, but it didn’t seem to affect his performance as he kept his lead and won the second set.
In the third set, Djokovic raced into a 3-0 lead, but Dimitrov kept pace, with the pair breaking one another five times in seven games. Djokovic eventually secured the win after four hours of play. Speaking after the match, Djokovic acknowledged the tough match and praised Dimitrov as one of his best friends on the tour and a talented player.
Djokovic will next face Australian Alex De Minaur, and while he admitted to being closer to the end of his career than the start, he had no plans to retire yet.