Results from the 2023 Australian Open: Novak Djokovic prevails, but Casper Ruud falls to Jenson Brooksby.

On a day when more of his anticipated title challengers were eliminated, Novak Djokovic persevered despite injury to go to the third round of the Australian Open.

Going for a record-extending 10th men’s victory in Melbourne, the 35-year-old Serbian defeated French qualifier Enzo Couacaud 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-0.

Djokovic had a medical break, appearing to be constrained by a hamstring issue that already existed, but he recovered.

Second seed Casper Ruud was defeated a day after Rafael Nadal was eliminated.

The Norwegian, who advanced to two Grand Slam finals last year, was defeated by American Jenson Brooksby 6-3 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2.

In the same section of the draw, eighth seed Taylor Fritz fell to Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-2.

Watch live coverage of Day Four of the Australian Open here. Michael Mmoh, a lucky loser who was called up to the main draw after a player withdrew and said he had to change his flight because he had expected to already be out, defeated Alexander Zverev, the 12th seed, 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-3 6-2. Zverev is still recovering from a serious ankle injury.

Andrey Rublev, the fifth seed from Russia, avoided such a shock by defeating Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-2 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 to book a third-round match against Dan Evans of the United Kingdom.

Djokovic overcomes agony to secure a spot in the third round.
Djokovic had his left leg extensively bandaged as he entered the Rod Laver Arena, but it was Couacaud who suffered an injury early on, rolling his right ankle halfway through the opening set and necessitating a medical timeout.


Djokovic breezed through the remainder of the opening match, but hamstring discomfort that he had been experiencing prior to the tournament’s start caused him to tire and gave Couacaud the opportunity to enter the match. The Serb left the court to receive medical attention and came back with a new, tighter bandage around his leg.

To the chagrin of Djokovic, the 27-year-old Frenchman, who will be playing in his first Australian Open in 2023, took advantage of the situation and sent the 21-time Grand Slam champion into a second-set tie-break.

It was Couacaud’s comeback from 3-0 down in the tie-break, confounding his 191st-ranked opponent, that caused Djokovic to drop a set to a qualifier or lucky loser in Melbourne for the first time since 2009.

But at that point, Djokovic made a mental shift, and his tenacity returned. The fourth seed easily won the third set in just over 30 minutes, but in the fourth set, he had to deal with hecklers in the crowd who, in his words, were “drunk out of their minds.”

The hecklers were ultimately chased away, and after asking the umpire “what he was going to do about it,” Djokovic regained concentration and sent Couacaud packing with an unfair bagel.

In the third round, Djokovic will face his Bulgarian “Balkan brother,” Grigor Dimitrov, who he has defeated nine times but hasn’t faced since 2019.

In his on-court interview, Djokovic stated that “a lot transpired tonight in tonight’s match.”

“Enzo deserves praise for his bravery; he also displayed excellent tennis, particularly in the second set.

We both had medical timeouts, and despite our struggles, I was able to reply well in the third and fourth, especially.
Ruud’s retirement means he must wait for another chance to win a first Grand Slam championship and terminated his chance to overtake the top spot in the world rankings. Last year, he finished second at the US Open and the French Open.

The world number 39 Brooksby outperformed the 24-year-old Norwegian, seizing control early in the first set with two serve breaks and controlling play from the baseline in the second.

Ruud saved three match points in the third before triumphing in a tie-break to force another set. He later claimed that he had experienced “compression and some small pain” in his abdomen, but he would not attribute this to his play.

However, the 22-year-old Brooksby rallied to break first in the fourth, and his opponent’s long backhand gave him the victory.

“Casper is a fighter; I knew there would be a huge battle there. In his on-court interview, Brooksby stated, “I felt quite secure with my level and just wanted to have fun out there and see what could happen.

After the third-set battle didn’t go my way, “I was really proud of my mental tenacity out there to turn it around.”

Following his compatriot’s five-set victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain, the 30th seed, Brooksby will play Tommy Paul in the following round.

Nick Kyrgios, the runner-up at Wimbledon last year, withdrew prior to the competition due to an injury, leaving Novak Djokovic as the clear favorite, providing his hamstring holds out.

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