Novak Djokovic overcomes injury scare as Serbia advances to United Cup quarter-finals

Novak Djokovic has persevered through a wrist injury as Serbia secured an exciting United Cup quarter-final showdown with Australia amidst a day of high drama and confusion in Perth.
The top-ranked player in the world experienced trouble with his right wrist during practice on Tuesday morning, necessitating extensive treatment from his physiotherapist. However, Djokovic received clearance to compete in his singles match against Jiri Lehecka later in the day. This was particularly fortunate for Serbia as Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova’s victory over Olga Danilovic with a scoreline of 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 had given the Czech Republic a 1-0 advantage in the tie.
The 24-time Grand Slam winner appeared to be on course for a straightforward triumph against Lehecka after claiming the first set and racing to a 3-1 lead in the second. However, as the match progressed, Djokovic’s wrist problems intensified, leading to a string of uncharacteristic unforced errors. Following a loss in the second-set tiebreak, Djokovic took a medical timeout and stormed back in the third set with two consecutive breaks, ultimately securing a hard-fought 6-1, 6-7 (7-3), 6-1 victory.
“I managed to play through,” Djokovic commented. “These things happen, not for the first or last time. You just have to manage and find a solution, and fortunately, I was able to finish the match.”
There was confusion following the match regarding Serbia’s qualification for the quarter-finals. Initially, officials declared that even if Serbia were to lose the mixed doubles and the tie, they would still advance as the best second-placed team in Perth. However, this was later revealed to be incorrect, with organizers clarifying that Serbia would be eliminated if they lost the mixed doubles in straight sets.
Believing Serbia had already secured their qualification, Djokovic chose not to participate in the mixed doubles. The situation appeared grim for Serbia when Danilovic and Hamad Medjedovic dropped the first set against Miriam Kolodziejova and Petr Nouza. Yet, Serbia’s passage was assured when they triumphed in the second set tiebreak, prompting a visibly delighted and relieved Djokovic on the sidelines. Ultimately, Serbia prevailed with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 10-8 victory in a match tiebreak.
As a result, Serbia topped Group E and is set to face Group C winners Australia in the quarter-finals at RAC Arena on Wednesday night. This will pit Djokovic against world No 12 Alex de Minaur, who demonstrated his potential with a resounding 6-4, 6-2 win over world No 10 Taylor Fritz on Monday. The other quarter-final in Perth will feature Poland against China.
Djokovic’s wrist did not initially seem to impede him in his singles match. He broke Lehecka’s serve in the fourth and sixth games, convincingly sealing the first set in just 34 minutes. The match appeared to be a foregone conclusion when Djokovic raced to a 3-1 lead in the second set.
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