Djokovic battles past Tsonga, young guns flourish

Wins for Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem's retirement and progression of 10 players under the age of 23 to the Australian Open third round. That and more in our day 4 wrap.

Published : Jan 17, 2019 22:47 IST

Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

Novak Djokovic sealed his place in the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday, while Alexander Zverev came through a stern test against Jeremy Chardy.

Djokovic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets but was not at his brilliant best as he set up a clash with Denis Shapovalov.

Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori progressed with victories over Stan Wawrinka and Ivo Karlovic, while Dominic Thiem retired after feeling unwell in his clash with Alexei Popyrin.

Alex Bolt pulled off an upset against Gilles Simon, and the young guns continued to impress , with Borna Coric among the other winners in Melbourne.


World number one Djokovic had to work hard for his 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Tsonga on Thursday.

In an entertaining encounter, Tsonga showed glimpses of the talent that once saw him ranked fifth in the world but mixed box-office shots with silly errors as the more consistent Djokovic plugged away despite not being at the top of his game.

The six-time champion punished Tsonga's mistakes to take a convincing scoreline from a match against an opponent who appeared capable of more.



Casual tennis fans could be forgiven for not knowing who Bolt was before the tournament, but the Australian wildcard is making a name for himself on home soil.

His 2-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 win over Simon books him a clash with Zverev in the next round.

"I haven't really had any time to just sit down and reflect on it all yet," said Bolt. "I'm extremely proud of myself. It's been an unbelievable week so far. Hopefully I can keep the roll, keep it going.

"I've always known that I can play at this level. But I guess the thing with me is being able to maintain that level. Today I felt like I was able to maintain it and I ended up playing pretty good."



Seventh seed Thiem pulled out at 7-5, 6-4, 2-0 down to Australian teenager Popyrin after calling for the trainer citing fatigue.

"I felt very bad during the game obviously," he said. "Today I started to feel like the whole body hurts and generally, I was not feeling well at all.

"In the match, it got worse, the whole body was hurting I was feeling weak and had no sense to continue.

"The cause, I don't know 100 percent. I had some cold the last weeks and also when I arrived here. I have to check it when I'm home and that's it."


A tournament that started with one of the sport's top players announcing his impending retirement could yet be remembered as a breakthrough event for some of its brightest prospects.


Wins for Zverev, Coric, Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev and Popyrin on Thursday mean 10 players under the age of 23 have qualified for the third round.

That's the most in a grand slam since the 2008 French Open and the most in Melbourne since 2004.

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