Adelaide: Novak Djokovic dug deep to save a match point on the way to a 6-7(8) 7-6(3) 6-4 victory over Sebastian Korda in the Adelaide International 1 final on Sunday ahead of this month’s Australian Open.
A day after he overwhelmed Daniil Medvedev in the semi-final despite sustaining a hamstring injury, Djokovic moved freely on court but was pushed hard by Korda before the Serb made a late charge to deny his opponent a potentially career-defining win.
Korda broke for a 5-4 lead in a tense first set and was 40-0 up on serve when Djokovic hit back to level the scores, but the world number five came undone in the tiebreak as the American soaked up the pressure to convert his seventh set point.
A fuming Djokovic yelled at and banished two members of his entourage from their courtside seats before the second set, in which he uncharacteristically struggled with his returns to allow Korda to dominate the rallies.
But with the crowd behind him on his return to Australia after his deportation last year due to his unvaccinated coronavirus status, Djokovic raised his game to save a match point before forcing a tiebreak which the top seed won.
Djokovic held for a 5-4 lead in the final set and the 35-year-old closed out victory with a break of serve as Korda finally felt the pressure and double-faulted before making two errors.
Djokovic is gunning for a record-extending 10th Australian Open title at the Jan. 16-29 tournament to draw level with his great rival Rafa Nadal on 22 Grand Slam titles.