Perth: Novak Djokovic endured a wrist injury to lead Serbia into a United Cup mixed teams quarter-final showdown against host Australia.
The world No 1 was troubled by his right wrist during practice on Tuesday morning and he received intense treatment from his physio.
Djokovic was cleared to play his singles match against Jiri Lehecka later in the day, and it was just as well given that Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova defeated Olga Danilovic 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to give the Czech Republic a 1-0 lead.
Strong come back
Djokovic looked on track for an easy victory against Lehecka while leading by a set and 3-1. But with his wrist troubles growing, Djokovic started making unforced errors. He took a medical timeout after losing the second-set tiebreak and came out strongly with a double break in the third set to win 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-1.
“I managed to play through,” Djokovic said. “It’s not the first time or the last time, these things happen. You just have to manage. You have to find a solution and, thankfully, I managed to finish the match.”
Confusion in qualification
There was confusion after the match as to whether Serbia had done enough to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Officials initially said that even if Serbia lost the mixed doubles and the tie, they would still make the quarter-finals as the best second-place team in Perth. But organisers later clarified that Serbia would be out if they lost the mixed doubles in straight sets.
Djokovic opted out of the mixed doubles, most likely thinking Serbia had already qualified. Serbia still won 4-6, 7-6 (2), 10-8.
Serbia topped Group E, and will take on Group C winner Australia on Wednesday in a quarter-final in Perth. Poland will face China in the other Perth quarter-final.
Tsitsipas withdraws with back injury
In Sydney on Tuesday, Chile defeated Greece 2-1. Stefanos Tsitsipas — runner-up at last year’s Australian Open — was scheduled to face Chile’s Nicolas Jarry in the men’s singles but withdrew with a back injury. He was replaced by 19-year-old Stefanos Sakellaridis, who lost to Jarry 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 to level the tie.
Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari then lost to Daniela Seguel and Tomas Barrios Vera 6-7 (5), 6-3, 10-6 and Chile lead the group ahead of Canada, who play their final group game on Wednesday against Greece.
Greece need to beat Canada to have any hope of advancing to Thursday’s quarter-finals in Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.