To further his quest for a 22nd Grand Slam victory, Novak Djokovic fought his way into the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday. Ons Jabeur was the most notable seed to lose, though.
The men’s draw saw the most bloodshed; on day four at Melbourne Park, second seeds Casper Ruud, Taylor Fritz, Alexander Zverev, and Diego Schwartzman were all eliminated.
The top two seeds are now both gone after Rafael Nadal, the reigning champion, made an unexpected departure on Wednesday.
With top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz also out due to injury, Djokovic, who was already the heavy favorite to win a tenth Melbourne title, has a massive advantage.
Against qualifier Enzo Couacaud, who is rated 191st, the 35-year-old Serb needed a medical break and had extensive strapping on his left leg.
He was annoyed by certain unruly spectators as well, and he once ordered that a fan who was intoxicated be ejected from the game.
However, Djokovic regained his composure and fitness to defeat the Frenchman 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-0. He now meets Grigor Dimitrov, the 27th seed, in the third round.
Djokovic, who has been battling a hamstring injury, informed the Rod Laver Arena that there was a lot going on throughout the game.
A spectator cried out, briefly pausing his on-court talk.
“I love you too, thank you,” said Djokovic, who has enjoyed a warm return to Melbourne Park following his deportation a year ago because of his stance on Covid vaccines.