Adelaide Worldwide 2023: Huge-serving Alexei Popyrin runs out of puff; Thanasi Kokkinakis ‘freaked out’ by knee scare


Daniil Medvedev is without doubt one of the worlds greatest, however only some weeks in the past he was questioning his skills. He opens up on a tough interval.

Daniil Medvedev’s ominous Adelaide Worldwide type has stamped the Russian as a real Australian Open title contender as soon as once more, however only some months in the past the previous world No. 1 was questioning his skills.

The 26 12 months outdated was medical in his 6-3 6-3 victory over countryman Karen Khachanov on Friday and he seems to be as robust as every other participant forward of the primary grand slam of the 12 months later this month.

Nonetheless, Medvedev arrived in Adelaide having endured a string of heartbreaking ATP Finals defeats to shut out 2022 and the back-to-back Australian Open runner-up conceded it performed on his thoughts early within the low season.

Rublev. Tsitsipas. Djokovic. A trio of matches misplaced in a last set tiebreaker, with no aggressive outlet to observe, made Medvedev begin to query himself.

“Confidence is hard to say, it was only a actually robust expertise,” he stated.

“I feel it was good it was the final event of the 12 months as a result of then you’ve a pre-season the place you’ll be able to work arduous and reset for the brand new season, as a result of for certain the week after the finals I used to be like: ‘That was horrible’.

“I needed to swear … I used to be serving two occasions for the match (which made it) even worse.

“In these moments you ask your self, ‘will I be capable to do higher subsequent time?’”

“I at all times say to myself sure; with arduous work and attempting your greatest, for certain I’ll. I used to be in a position to do it already and I will do it once more.”

Medvedev was put in as world No. 1 not lengthy after reaching final 12 months’s Australian Open last, which he misplaced in heartbreaking circumstances having led Rafael Nadal by two units earlier than the Spaniard’s legendary comeback.

He completed the 12 months at No. 7, and spoke earlier this week about his burning need to return to the highest of the mountain in 2023.

This time 12 months in the past Medvedev was the world’s greatest participant in-waiting; coming off a US Open title and Davis Cup glory.

Requested if there was much less expectation on his shoulders this 12 months, Medvedev stated his focus remained the identical.

“I don’t know. I put excessive expectations on myself on a regular basis,” he stated.

“Speaking about different individuals, I don’t know the expectations they (have) – if they’re decrease, I’ll attempt to (do) every little thing I can in order that they’re excessive once more.”

To this point in Adelaide the Russian is doing every little thing proper to make {that a} actuality. In one of many strongest ATP250 fields ever seen, he has defied the chaos that noticed prime seeds Felix Auger-Aliassime and Holger Rune bomb out within the opening spherical.

A semi-final berth awaits on Saturday and he’s simply 24 hours away from a potential first ATP title of 2023.

Given among the world’s greatest – together with Novak Djokovic – featured in Adelaide this week, such a feather in his cap would make Medvedev one of many favourites to win all of it in Melbourne.

“I don’t know what occurs sooner or later; I can’t change the previous. The one factor I can do is figure on the current and within the current I really feel nice, I really feel recent (and) I really feel prepared for the season.”

Younger Aussie tapped out after succumbing to feelings

An Adelaide Worldwide semi-final berth was calling for younger Aussie Alexei Popyrin, however on Friday he didn’t reply.

The person with the monster serve fired down 27 aces — 15 within the second set alone — however the floor strokes that acquired him previous No. 2 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime earlier within the week failed to fireplace towards the ever-reliable Yoshihito Nishioka.

In his first ATP quarter-final look in two years, the 23-year-old had Japanese sensation Nishioka on the ropes on multiple event. However within the clutch he got here up quick, bowing out of the Adelaide Worldwide, 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (10-8) 6-2.

Popyrin broke the world No. 36 first within the opening set however virtually instantly gave it again, and Nishioka went on to win the opener in a tiebreak.

The Aussie responded by breaking his rival as soon as once more within the second however, with an opportunity to serve for the set, once more opened the door for Nishioka to interrupt again.

As Thanasi Kokkinakis realized on Thursday night time, when he transformed simply considered one of seven break factors earlier than falling in straight units to Jannik Sinner, at this degree it’s a must to take your probabilities.

Popyrin answered the decision and saved two match factors earlier than successful a second set tiebreak.

The younger Aussie’s feelings spilled over as he dragged himself again right into a contest he knew he deserved to be successful.

However the emotion of the second set appeared to take its toll. Popyrin started to fade and his first serve proportion dipped properly under its customary measure, permitting Nishioka to interrupt twice earlier than the younger Aussie referred to as for a medical time-out.

Popyrin returned to the court docket however was clearly tapped out and Nishioka took the ultimate sport to like, securing a semi-final berth on Saturday.

For Popyrin it was a disappointing technique to exit, nonetheless he’ll take loads of confidence out of his Adelaide Worldwide displaying forward of an Australian Open wildcard look later this month.

Kokkinakis ‘freaked out’ by knee scare as stress mounts

Strain is on Thanasi Kokkinakis to defend his maiden ATP title on the Adelaide Worldwide 2 subsequent week and the South Australian concedes he isn’t 100 per cent match as he enters a vital interval in what he hopes might be a resurgent 2023 season.

The 26-year-old was knocked out of the Adelaide Worldwide on Thursday night time by Italian world No. 15 Jannik Sinner, dropping outdoors the ATP prime 100 within the course of.

Kokkinakis is because of again up at Memorial Drive for Week 2 of the Adelaide Worldwide the place he’ll defend his breakthrough title of final 12 months and a vital 250 rating factors.

However the precise knee that triggered him early concern in his opening spherical conflict with Maxime Cressy on Tuesday stays a difficulty, and although Kokkinakis is “assured” he might be match to play in Week 2 and on the Australian Open later this month, it’s not sure.

“I had a little bit of a scare with my knee however I feel I’ve performed one thing to form of handle it a little bit bit,” Kokkinakis stated.

“I’ve most likely acquired to scan it, however I’m fairly assured now after getting by means of that match (towards Sinner) in regards to the Aussie Open – I simply hopefully (can) give it a great crack subsequent week and see what occurs.”


Kokkinakis retired from his doubles match with Jordan Thompson on Wednesday after one other knee scare. Following Thursday night time’s loss to Sinner he revealed it had been troubling him previous to the event.

“It’s been bothering me a bit within the low season however normally when it warms up it will get to a great level – to get by means of two matches (in Adelaide) was good,” he stated.

“The primary spherical (towards Cressy) and even within the doubles it freaked me out; I simply leant again on serve and the knee form of gave approach. It’s a little bit of a bizarre one.

“I feel I must get it checked out however I’m fairly assured after getting by means of that sport (towards Sinner) that I ought to be OK.”

Requested if he was positively going to be match to play in Week 2, Kokkinakis replied: “That’s the plan (however) I’d take a look at it, simply to ensure there’s nothing main (improper with it).”

Djokovic survives scare from unlikely Frenchman

For a second he regarded mortal.

Damaged in his opening service sport and staring down a 3-0 deficit towards unheralded Frenchman Quentin Halys, Novak Djokovic was on the ropes.

However not likely.

It wasn’t the script the group anticipated when it piled into Memorial Drive for the Adelaide Worldwide second spherical, however the world No. 5 made amends — progressing to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) win on Thursday.

A powerful Halys, who final confronted and misplaced to Djokovic on the 2016 Australian Open — their solely assembly — had the possibility to serve for the opening set. However it’s by no means so easy towards probably the greatest to ever do it.

Djokovic broke to like and his subsequent roar was matched by an approving crowd.

Halys might have crumbled from then, as so many had performed earlier than. However the world No. 64 responded with a love service sport of his personal to throw stress again on the shoulders of Djokovic.

He responded in sort to ship the set to a tie-breaker and also you by no means wager towards the nine-time Australian Open champion from there.

The Serbian’s signature scrambling was on full show with an unimaginable passing shot to go 5-0 up within the tie-break and Djokovic closed it out quickly after.

If some anticipated the second set to be a walkover, Halys had different concepts.

Regardless of his 0-11 report towards top-30 opponents in tour-level matches, the Frenchman stored his composure towards the Australian Open favorite.

He saved two match factors to sq. the set at 5-5 and to a different tie-break they went.

This time, Djokovic didn’t have all of it his personal approach.

It took till the eleventh level for the primary mini break of serve and along with his third match level, Djokovic transformed.

“It was a fantastic efficiency from my opponent as we speak,” the 35-year-old stated after the match.

“I need to congratulate him for a fantastic combat as we speak. Robust luck; he performed like a top-10 participant as we speak, little doubt.”

Djokovic progresses to the quarterfinals the place he meets Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who has by no means crushed the Serbian in seven makes an attempt on tour.

“Denis is without doubt one of the most full gamers on the market,” Djokovic stated.

“He’s acquired a really dynamic type of tennis, an enormous serve, involves the web (and) he’s comfy enjoying from the again of the court docket.

“We haven’t performed now for some time so I’m trying ahead to that. Each match now will get harder and I’m going to be prepared for that.”

Initially printed as Adelaide Worldwide 2023: Daniil Medvedev concedes he questioned himself after ‘actually robust’ interval



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