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Djokovic downs Shapovalov, to face Medvedev in Adelaide semis

January 06, 2023 21:45 IST
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A round-up of all tennis action on Friday.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during his Adelaide International quarter-final match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during his Adelaide International quarter-final match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov. Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters

Novak Djokovic will face the biggest test of his Australian Open preparations in a blockbuster semi-final with former world number one Daniil Medvedev after the Serbian beat Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-4 at the Adelaide International 1 on Friday.


Djokovic has been well received on his return to Australia following his deportation on the eve of the Grand Slam last year for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and the 35-year-old delighted fans by comfortably going up a set and a break.

Canada's world number 18 Shapovalov raised his game to draw level at 3-3 in the second set but surrendered his serve after a wayward shot and a double fault as Djokovic surged ahead 5-4 before closing out the quarter-final clash on serve.

Top seed Djokovic has won his previous three meetings with Medvedev, who last beat him in the 2021 US Open final.

"It'll be another long night. There's not going to be too many short points unless we both serve well," said Djokovic, who is 8-4 overall against the Russian.

"Against him, you have to be ready to go the distance physically and mentally... game-wise, he's one of the best in the last five years. He's established himself ... and he's someone I respect a lot.

"We've had some amazing battles over the years and hopefully we can have one more."

Third seed Medvedev earlier advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over compatriot Karen Khachanov in their first tour meeting since 2019 to improve his record against him to 3-1.

"I'm happy that I managed to raise my level, especially in the end of both sets and I'm really happy to be in the semis," Medvedev said.

Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka knocked out the last remaining Australian in the ATP 250 event as he beat qualifier Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (4), 6-7 (8), 6-2 to set up a semi-final clash with Sebastian Korda, seeking a first win over the American.

Korda faced sixth seed Jannik Sinner after straight-sets wins over Andy Murray and Roberto Bautista Agut and the world number 33 was unstoppable again in his 7-5 6-1 victory over the Italian who struggled with a hip issue.

"It was a great match until something started to bother him," Korda said.

"So I just wish him all the best for the coming weeks and the Australian Open coming up."

 Czech Republic's Linda Noskova in action during her quarter-final match against Belarus' Victoria Azarenka

IMAGE: Czech Republic's Linda Noskova in action during her quarter-final match against Belarus' Victoria Azarenka. Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters

Teenaged qualifier Linda Noskova saved a match point before completing a stunning 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6) victory over double Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Adelaide International 1.

The 18-year-old Czech broke her Belarusian opponent five times in the clash that lasted nearly three hours and held her nerve in a tight final set tiebreak to prevail.

Noskova, who also upset third seed Daria Kasatkina earlier in the WTA 500 event, next meets favourite and world number two Ons Jabeur who battled past Marta Kostyuk 7-6(5) 7-5.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka staved off a late fightback from former French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova to win 6-3, 7-5 in hot conditions.

"It was a tough match. She fought until the end and I was really happy I was able to win," WTA Finals runner-up Sabalenka said after another battling display in her preparation for the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

"I think because I'm staying really calm and I feel like I'm at home here that's why I play really well. I haven't dropped a set yet. Hopefully I'll keep going like that."

Up next for Sabalenka is Irina-Camelia Begu who defeated Veronika Kudermetova 7-5 6-4.

Leylah Fernandez had dropped only three games in two matches at the Auckland Classic ahead of her quarter-final clash against Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure but the Canadian -- runner-up in the 2021 US Open -- crashed to a 6-4, 6-2 defeat.

Top seed Coco Gauff had no trouble in her 6-3, 6-2 win over China's Zhu Lin and the American next meets Danka Kovinic who beat Viktoria Kuzmova by the same scoreline.

Rebeka Masarova overcame Karolina Muchova 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) to complete the final four in the rain-hit tournament where players competed indoors again.

Swiatek in tears after defeat to Pegula as US lead in United Cup semis

Poland's Iga Swiatek in action during her United Cup semi-final match against USA's Jessica Pegula

IMAGE: Poland's Iga Swiatek in action during her United Cup semi-final match against USA's Jessica Pegula. Photograph: Jaimi Joy/Reuters

World number one Iga Swiatek broke down in tears after a 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Jessica Pegula, who gave the United States the perfect start to their United Cup semi-final against Poland in the opening singles rubber on Friday before Frances Tiafoe doubled their advantage.

Swiatek was only able to hold her serve once in the first set as Pegula raced to a 5-0 lead and the American world number three kept up the pressure with some brilliant returns in the second set.

Pegula secured a dominant victory that will also give her a personal boost heading into this month's Australian Open when Swiatek sent a forehand wide after little more than an hour on Ken Rosewall Arena.

"I thought I did a good job playing really aggressive, serving smart and returning really well," said Pegula, who had lost her previous four matches against Swiatek.

It was her first career victory over a reigning number one and a result that left Swiatek in floods of tears in Poland's dugout after the match.

"She's one of the best players in the world so you have to be really on top of your game to win against Jessie," Swiatek said.

"It was always like that, even last season.

"So I'm not surprised, because I know what she can do. I'm more surprised I wasn't able to step up to her game today."

Tiafoe gave the Americans a 2-0 lead when he comfortably beat Kacper Zuk 6-3, 6-3, saying after the match that Pegula's performance had inspired him.

"It was great, I was so amped watching. Forget about me playing, I was so happy for Jess ... I know what it means for her going forward," said Tiafoe, who has won all four of his singles matches in the event, dropping one set.

Martina Trevisan gave Italy the early advantage in the other semi-final of the mixed team tournament by stunning world number six Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-5 in a gripping battle that lasted more than three hours.

Lorenzo Musetti then put them completely in control at 2-0 with a 6-1 6-1 victory over Stefanos Sakellaridis.

The semi-final ties resume on Saturday with two more singles matches and a mixed doubles rubber. The final will take place the following day.

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