Novak Djokovic survived a four-set battle with Enzo Couacaud to succeed in the third spherical of the Australian Open however considerations might be rising over the state of his left hamstring.
Djokovic took a medical timeout in the course of the second set and appeared distinctly uncomfortable, grimacing and stretching, however he prevented becoming a member of Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud in making an early exit, coming via 6-1 6-7 (5) 6-2 6-0 to arrange a conflict with Grigor Dimitrov.
Djokovic, who additionally known as for a drunk spectator who was heckling him to be thrown out, got here into the match with the damage having picked it up enjoying in Adelaide a fortnight in the past.
He eased via his first-round match towards Roberto Carballes Baena and mentioned afterwards that his leg was enhancing, and there seemed to be no alarms within the first set, with Couacaud the trigger for concern after rolling his ankle.
But, in the course of the second, Djokovic began to point out indicators he was feeling the damage, calling for the coach at 4-5 and heading off court docket.
The Serb has a repute for managing apparently miraculous recoveries from bodily illnesses, profitable the title right here two years in the past after tearing an stomach muscle for instance, however he was actually not shifting anyplace close to his regular ranges and pulled up a number of instances whereas operating.
He managed to discover a approach via this one regardless of dropping a second-set tie-break he gave the impression to be in command of however there have to be critical query marks about his probabilities of profitable a tenth title in Melbourne.
Ruud admitted a prolonged exhibition tour with Nadal could have compromised his probabilities following his 6-3 7-5 6-7 (4) 6-2 defeat by American Jenson Brooksby earlier within the day.
Ruud, a finalist on the French Open and US Open final yr, had restricted pre-season coaching after becoming a member of Nadal on a tour of Latin America lasting practically two weeks.
The Norwegian mentioned: “It’s very easy to sit here now and say that was bad for maybe both Rafa and I due to the fact that we lost early here.
“(The preparation) was maybe not enough to be able to perform well here this year. So it will be considered by me and my team what we will do in December this year, and if this was the right way to prepare for the Australian Open or not.
“Maybe it looks like it was not the right way, but there are many factors that come into play.”
Ruud struggled from the beginning with the unorthodox model of 22-year-old Brooksby, who is called after former British racing driver Jenson Button.
He had cause to curse his luck, too, after dropping the second set when a shot from Brooksby hit the tape and dribbled over the online.
Ruud then took an off-court medical timeout for what he later revealed to be an ongoing stomach subject and was clinging on by his fingernails at 5-2 down within the third however Brooksby was unable to serve it out, lacking three match factors in agonising vogue.
Ruud seemed like he may flip the match round when he took the tie-break, with Brooksby starting to wrestle bodily, however he cast forward once more and eventually clinched his fifth match level.
He raised weary arms within the air, after which mentioned: “I was really proud of the mental resolve after the third set didn’t go my way.”
It has been a vastly profitable match up to now for the American males, with eight via to the third spherical.
Tommy Paul, JJ Wolf and Michael Mmoh all upset seeds, with the latter taking out twelfth seed Alexander Zverev, who’s discovering issues robust after coming back from a long-term ankle damage.
The former US Open finalist mentioned: “My foot is healthy but I’m not at the physical level that I was. I’m not as fast. Definitely my conditioning is not as good as it was. So I think I still have a long way to go to there.”
Ben Shelton, who’s on his first journey exterior the US, can be via to the final 32 however America’s highest-ranked man, eighth seed Taylor Fritz, is out after dropping in 5 units to Australian wild card Alexei Popyrin.
Roberto Bautista Agut fought off a wonderful problem from one other younger American, Brandon Holt, recovering from two units down, whereas fifth seed Andrey Rublev and ninth seed Holger Rune are additionally via.