Djokovic in the third round of the Australian Open, Popyrin beaten in 4 sets

The 36-year-old Serbian, world number 1 and defending champion, suffered in the second round but beat the 24-year-old Australian 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in 3h11”

Novak Djokovic in the third round of the 2024 Australian Open. The 36-year-old Serbian, world number 1 and title holder, suffers in the second round but beats the 24-year-old Australian Alexey Popyrin, number 43 in the ATP ranking, 6-3, 4-6 , 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in 3h11” and will face the Argentinian Tomas Etcheverry, number 30 in the seeding, in the round of 32.

The match

Djokovic, fresh from a complicated run-in in the first round against the Croatian baby Dino Prizmic, takes off during the first set. The world number 1 manages his service shifts without problems (3 points conceded in the entire half) and in the eighth game he scores the break that breaks the balance: 6-3. Popyrin took the blow and had the merit of remaining fully in the game at the start of the second set. The favorite of the home crowd doesn’t stutter on serve and in the fourth game he takes advantage of Djokovic’s worst version: the Serbian misses 4 forehands, one after the other, and gives his opponent the 3-1 game. Down 5-3, the world number 1 picks up the pace and recovers the break, getting back fully on track. Everyone expects the hook and instead Djokovic: the forehand gets stuck again, Popyrin thanks and takes home the 6-4 which equalizes the score. The third set goes by without any jolts, with the serve dominating the scene: no break point until the tenth game, with Popyrin ahead 5-4. The Australian holds the exchanges and the world number 1 continues to make mistakes, falling 0-40: Popyrin has 3 set points in a row, he will also have a fourth in the interminable game that Djokovic catches by the hair (5-5) . The set ends in a tie-break, which Djokovic wins 7-4. The Serbian escapes to 5-2, resists his rival’s comeback attempt and takes the third set. Popyrin tries to resist, but halfway through the fourth set he gives in: the sixth game is the decisive turning point, with the break that Djokovic scores to zero (4-2). The world number 1 wastes 3 match points at 5-2 but closes the score in the next game: 6-3 and curtain.