Finally after many expectations, fears, controversies, controversies and hopes, the Australian Open 2021 has begun, the first Grand Slam of the season that will be played at Melbourne Park from 8 to 21 February, with the presence of a part of the crowd in the stands.
All the greatest tennis players on the planet have therefore made an appointment in Melbourne to play one of the most fascinating and important sporting events of the sporting season, the first real appointment with great tennis after the appetizer of the ATP and WTA events in Melbourne the week before the Australian Open.
There is no Roger Federer, who will return on the court in the next ATP Doha event. Novak Djokovic got the answers he needed. Waiting for Alexander Zverev, everything as planned. Fresh from the problems piled up in the challenge against Taylor Fritz those of the world number one against Milos Raonic are almost all of a technical-tactical nature.
Despite an empty pass in the heart of the second set, the eight-time champion of the tournament manages the practice almost flawlessly and loads on his shoulders, at the threshold of three hours of play, a very robust 7-6 (3) 4-6 6-1 6-4.
For the Serbian this is the 300th career victory in a Grand Slam tournament. Try to guess the single in front of him in this special chart. The problems do not last long: Djokovic returns to the quarters. Djokovic does not appear to be in poor physical condition.
Rather. He moves well, hits well, but above all he does not accuse excessive problems with the available serve. The Serbian champion, who goes up from 0-30 in the third game, flirts with the break at 3-3 and 4-4 before breaking the balance in the tie break.
And also during the second set he condenses the vast majority of the difficulties on serve when the scoreboard says 1-1 and 2-2. Djokovic cancels the first two break points, but fails to put up a resistance on the third. A double foul is bloody in the game.
Raonic defends the advantage available with incredible substance, but just in time to move the zero from the box of the game in the third. The Serbian tennis player, who freezes the project and limits himself to administering the practice, settles the decisive shoulder on 4-4 (obviously in the fourth) and keeps the advantage at the foot of the finish line without particular difficulties.
It had to be Thiem-Aliassime, it will be Dimitrov-Karatsev. The vast majority of surprises are concentrated in the slice of the board occupied by the world number one. The twenty-seven-year-old Russian, fresh from qualifying and practically at the second Slam scoreboard in his career, even goes up to the quarter-finals, recovering two sets of disadvantage to the youngest of the Canada group.
Unloaded - mentally and above all physically - the Austrian talent does not exploit an advantage of 3-1 between the first and second set and dissolves completely in the third. Dimitrov takes advantage of this, playing a match of quantity and quality, and at the threshold of two hours of play he places himself on 6-4 6-4 6-0. Finding a place on the table of the first eight in a Grand Slam after two years.