Novak Djokovic showed no signs of an injury that could derail his Australian Open campaign as he defeated unseeded American Sebastian Korda 6-7 (8), 7-6 (3), 6-4 on Sunday to win the Adelaide International. to win.
Djokovic worried the Open organizers when he told Daniil Medvedev after his semifinal in Adelaide that he was suffering from a tight hamstring. He said the injury eased as the game progressed.
If there had been a lingering problem, it probably would have come to light in Sunday’s marathon final, which lasted over three hours and ended with Djokovic claiming his 92nd singles title.
🇷🇸 @DjokerNole rules again Down Under 🏆
Proud owner of 92 @atptour singles titles and a 34 match winning streak in Australia.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 8, 2023
He also took his second Adelaide title 16 years after his first; he won the tournament in 2007, aged 19.
Djokovic had to save a match and championship point at 5-6 in the second set on Sunday and was completely stretched by 22-year-old Korda, son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda.
The game ran on a handful of points. Djokovic served to love in his first four service games of the final set, then served after being brought down to deuce by Korda in his fifth service game.
Djokovic then rallied from 15-40 to 5-4 in Korda’s next service game to win four consecutive points and win the set in 51 minutes – and the match in 3 hours and 9 minutes.
“I hope everyone enjoyed the show tonight, it’s been a great week,” said Djokovic. “Seb had a great tournament and put in a great effort today.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 8, 2023
“I think he was closer to the win than I was at times today. It was just a few shots, a few points.”
Djokovic sometimes showed irritation to this coach Goran Ivanicevic who supported him from a penalty area or protested to himself after a wasted point.
“I want to thank my team for dealing with me, tolerating me in good times and bad today. I’m sure they didn’t like me going back and forth with them, but I appreciate them being here.”
His serve was reliable at the start of the first set and he conceded no point as Korda broke him to lead 5-4. Djokovic immediately broke back and took the set to a tiebreak.
Korda had an early lead and five set points, but Djokovic saved them all to tie the tiebreak at 6-6. Djokovic framed a forehand that sailed into the crowd and gave Korda another advantage, allowing the American to take the tiebreak 10-8.
Djokovic saved a match point at 5-6 on serve in the second set, then forced the set to another tiebreak which he took comfortably.
Korda produced some excellent service games, occasionally getting Djokovic into trouble with his serve’s kick. But he was only broken for the second time in the match in the 10th game of the deciding set, with only a few points making the difference.
Earlier, second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka claimed her 11th WTA Tour singles title, but her first in nearly two years when she defeated qualifier Linda Noskova 6-2 7-6 (4) in the women’s final.
In doing so, she ended an extraordinary streak of 18-year-old Noskova beating third-seeded Daria Kasatkina and former Australian Open champion Viktoria Asarenka in the main draw en route to her first final.
Sabalenka didn’t drop a set all week and looked poised for another comfortable win as she took the first set on Sunday. But Noskova was much more competitive in the second, holding the serve and putting pressure on Sabalenka’s serve, especially with her powerful backhand returns.
“I think I’m a different player now,” said Sabalenka. “Maybe a little smarter, a little calmer on the track. Only a little bit of everything has changed.
“I want to congratulate (Noskova) on a great week. I think you have a great future ahead and appear 100 per cent in many more finals.”
Sabalenka’s last single title came in Madrid in May 2021, but she went titleless in 2022 despite reaching three finals.
She finished the year in fifth place after qualifying for the season-ending WTA Finals in Fort Worth where she lost to Caroline Garcia in the final.
Sabalenka has now won three tournaments in the first week of a season after Shenzen in 2019 and Abu Dhabi in 2021.