World number one Novak Djokovic plays through pain to win 300th Grand Slam match

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MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic clocked his 300th Grand Slam win Sunday, enjoying through pain from an stomach damage that almost pressured him to pull out of the Australian Open to oust Milos Raonic and make the quarter-finals.

The world number one took to the courtroom regardless of suggesting his title defence is perhaps over on Friday after sustaining the damage in an exciting five-setter towards Taylor Fritz.

He battled on towards large Canadian Raonic on a fan-less Rod Laver Arena, grinding through 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to arrange a conflict with sixth seed Alexander Zverev.

But Djokovic stated if it wasn’t a Grand Slam, he would have pulled out.

“No preparations, basically, for this match. I used every single hour I had since the last match against Taylor to recover and put myself in a position where I have a possibility to compete,” he stated.

“If it was any other tournament than a Grand Slam I would retire and withdraw,” he added.

“I didn’t know before I finished my warm up today, three hours before, whether I would play or not.”

– Thundering aces – Djokovic’s win was his 300th at a Slam, solely the second participant in historical past to attain the mark after Roger Federer, on 362.

It stored him on monitor for an 18th Grand Slam title in his bid to shut in on the 20 held by the Swiss nice and Rafael Nadal, who plays on Monday.

He has already received a document eight instances in Melbourne, the scene of his maiden Slam triumph in 2008, the place he stays unbeaten since his shock loss to South Korea’s Hyeon Chung within the 2018 spherical of 16.

Despite his damage struggles, Djokovic was at all times the favorite, having received all 11 of his earlier encounters with the big-serving Canadian, dropping simply three units within the course of.

But 14th seed Raonic can be extraordinarily skilled at this stage, having reached 5 quarter-finals or higher at Melbourne Park over the previous six 12 months.

And he proved a tricky opponent, sending down two thundering aces within the opening sport to spotlight his serving energy, with some rockets clocking in at 223 kph.

Djokovic’s motion appeared unhindered and he lastly labored his first break level in sport six, however squandered it with a forehand into the web as Raonic held on.

He earned one other within the eighth sport however once more failed to capitalise and it went to a tiebreaker the place a wayward Raonic volley gave the Serb an early benefit and he did not look again.

Raonic’s proper ankle was taped in a medical timeout at 1-2 within the second set, however he nonetheless broke Djokovic to go 4-2 forward with a scorching crosscourt forehand and took the set.

The Serb, although, was returning serve at a excessive proportion and he lastly transformed a break level when Raonic despatched a forehand huge to take a 3-1 lead, and broke once more to seal the third set.

It went with serve within the fourth set till Djokovic labored break factors within the ninth sport, lastly changing on the third to transfer 5-4 forward and serving out for the match.

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