MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic made a powerful return on Wednesday after six months out with an elbow damage, declaring he felt “nice” after beating world quantity 5 Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-four on the Kooyong Basic.
The Serbian 12-time Grand Slam winner was in good type, and filled with optimism, after his first aggressive outing since dropping a Wimbledon quarter-ultimate to Tomas Berdych final July. “I really feel nice, I used to be desperate to get onto the courtroom,” he stated after enjoying with a flesh-colored sleeve on his proper arm. “I had a terrific opponent, it was a test for me to see the place I’m, how the work we did pays off on courtroom. It labored fairly nicely.” The previous world primary, who can be chasing a report seventh Australian Open crown subsequent week, had pulled out of a heat-up event in Abu Dhabi, elevating considerations over whether or not he can be match sufficient to play at Melbourne Park.
“There was a doubt, particularly after I pulled out of the primary week of the yr,” he admitted. “I personally didn’t know what’s going to occur. We did some remedy and clearly gave it numerous thought,” Djokovic stated.
“Fortunately… I’m right here and so I’m hoping within the subsequent 4, 5 days the whole lot will go properly and I’ll be prepared for the Open.”Whereas happy together with his progress, Djokovic — who has dropped to 14 on the planet rankings — admitted he nonetheless had work to do forward of the opening Grand Slam of the yr.
“I don’t need to be over-assured, however I’m very, very proud of the way it went in the present day,” added the 30-yr-previous. “I don’t say I’m at one hundred pc, I can solely say that once I get the texture of a event. Ideally I might have had one other event earlier than the beginning of the Open, nevertheless it was not meant to be. “I’ll take no matter I can — one or two matches right here will probably be good preparation.”
Thiem, who solely arrived in Melbourne on Monday night time from Doha after 4 days in mattress with a virus, introduced solely a minimal problem to the recharged Serb. “I’m freed from fever and wholesome once more,” the Austrian stated. “I’m nonetheless jet-lagged and was sluggish originally of the match. I’ll sleep, eat and practice and never do an excessive amount of. I’ll be nice for the Open.”
Australian Matthew Ebden, again on courtroom after an damage-marred 2017, defeated Marin Cilic 6-7 (three/7), 6-four, 7-5 in one other match on the exhibition event. World quantity six Cilic gained the opener however discovered his recreation not fairly as much as aggressive degree as Ebden sneaked out the second set after which gained a decent third.
Cilic, final yr’s dropping Wimbledon finalist towards Roger Federer, heads into his ultimate apply days for the Australian Open content material together with his type.
Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus beat US Open runner-up Kevin Anderson 6-four, three-6, 6-three. Kooyong Basic outcomes: Males: Matthew Ebden (AUS) bt Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-7 (three/7), 6-four, 7-5
Novak Djokovic (SRB) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT) 6-1, 6-four
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA) 6-four, three-6, 6-three
Ladies: Belinda Bencic (SUI) bt Wang Xinyu (CHN) 7-6 (7/5), 6-four.
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