Djokovic screams ‘that’s right man!’ as Serb wins five-set epic despite serious injury

NOVAK DJOKOVIC was victorious in a wild five-set Australian Open match.

The Serb was two sets up and cruising but then required a third set medical timeout and struggled for movement for the remainder of the match.

That allowed Taylor Fritz to claim the third and fourth sets and at one point the American looked favourite to win.

However, Djokovic dug deep and let out an emotional roar after securing a 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 win.

To make the evening even more bizarre, play was suspended and fans thrown out at 11.30pm local time as Melbourne went into lockdown from midnight.

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    Here’s what it means to Djokovic.

    Will he be OK for his fourth-round game, though?

    Credit: AFP or licensors



    Djokovic is through to face Raonic in the fourth round.

    So the Australian Open moves behind closed doors tomorrow.

    Let’s hope by the time we return with semi-final coverage that fans can be back inside Rod Laver Arena.

    Stay safe, everybody.

    In front of no crowd, an animated Novak Djokovic digs in deep despite an injury and KOs Taylor Fritz 7-6 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 in the #AusOpen third round. It’s his 17th successive win on Melbourne Park but the issue could impact on his title defence next week

    — Rob Maul (@Rob_Maul) February 12, 2021

  • DJOKOVIC BEATS FRITZ 7-6 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2

    Djokovic breaks to win!

    What an extraordinary evening on Rod Laver Arena.

    We started three and a half hours ago with Djokovic looking supreme.

    And we end it gone midnight with him somehow pulling off a victory in front of no fans.

    He’s overcome a side strain, losing two sets, and seeing fans kicked out at 11.30pm to get home before lockdown.

    Novak through to the fourth round, is the bottom line.


    One more game. So, so good from Novak.

    This is a lesson in stand and deliver. The man can’t move but he’s hitting all the lines with his groundstrokes.

    A raised fist as he walks back to his chair one game from a brilliant win.



    Djokovic breaks and is two games from a remarkable win.

    Fritz just shakes his head as a forehand winner lands plum on the line.

    Credit: EPA


    Somehow, remarkably, Djokovic holds on again.

    Fritz must be wondering what’s going on. The Serb’s serve has been impenetrable so far in this fifth set.

    Surely he can’t win this, surely.


    Djokovic is slapping his groundstrokes, really going for winners.

    The moment he gets to moving, he can’t stay with Fritz.

    It’s a comfortable hold to 15 for the American.


    Incredible effort from the world No 1, it really is.

    3h 8 mins on the click and he manages to hold to love with consistent serving that Fritz can do nothing about.

    Credit: Rex Features



    Djokovic grimaces as he chases down a forehand from Fritz, then seeks some respite by leaning on an advertising board.

    He’s in real trouble here. Fritz holds again as we tick part midnight.


    A forehand winner with real zip on to take the opening game of the final set.

    Djokovic is really playing through the pain barrier here but you can be sure he’ll do everything possible to get this win.

    Novak was having a word with his camp during the break between sets, but there’s not much anyone can do to help him.

    This is about somehow scraping over the line.

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 4-6 FRITZ

    Game and fourth set.

    Fritz takes us all the way on Rod Laver Arena.

    It’s coming up to midnight local time and there are no fans here.

    Is this how Djokovic’s defence ends?

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 4-5* FRITZ

    Djokovic holds again, and at least asks the question of Fritz to serve it out.

    A few big minutes for the American coming up here.


    NINTCHDBPICT000635871087Credit: AFP or licensors


    NINTCHDBPICT000635871257Credit: Reuters


    NINTCHDBPICT000635871571Credit: AP:Associated Press


  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 *3-5 FRITZ

    Another hold for Fritz to take him one game away from levelling this up.

    Djokovic looks spent at the moment.

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 3-4* FRITZ

    Djokovic holds to 15 with a very good ace out wide.

    That break in play might have done him a bit of good to regroup here.

    Wonder if he’ll save some energy for a fifth set.

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 *2-4 FRITZ

    And hold the American does, he two games away from forcing a deciding set.


    Right, after a 10-minute delay, we’re ready to go again.

    Fritz serving and up 3-2 in the fourth in front of an empty Rod Laver Arena.


    Play has been stopped until all spectators leave.

    This is surreal.

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 2-3* FRITZ

    Djokovic holds somehow, and it’s just a single break of serve.

    The players sit down to change ends and this might be all she wrote for the crowds.

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 *1-3 FRITZ

    Easy once again for Fritz. Djokovic looks beaten.

    It’s 11.29pm also local time, what’s going to happen with the crowd?

    What a strange evening of tennis.

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 1-2* FRITZ

    Novak saves the first break point with an excellent in to out forehand – but can’t pull it out of the bag again.

    Fritz BREAKS. And he’s truly in command now.

    Djokovic in serious trouble.

    Credit: EPA

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 *1-1 FRITZ

    Pressure straight back on the world No 1 as Fritz holds comfortably again.

    Djokovic struggling to even reach out to some of these shots.

    Not looking good for the reigning champ.

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 1-0* FRITZ

    A fine hold from Djokovic having saved break point to get there.

    He let out a huge roar of frustration aimed towards his corner. Not sure if that was anything they did or just general angst at the situation.

    But the world No 1 is battling on.


    Another announcement on the public address system to the crowd to start making their way home.

    There’s not many inside Rod Laver Arena still, but the ones that are here are standing firm and booing the calls.

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-6 FRITZ

    Game and third set to the American!

    He serves it out to love and it finishes with a Djokovic two-handed backhand into the net.

    We’re going to a fourth set and chants of USA go up from the few fans still inside Rod Laver Arena.

    Credit: AP:Associated Press

  • DJOKOVIC 7-6 6-4 3-5* FRITZ

    Djokovic winds up an in to out forehand, but he puts it wide.

    A massive grimace and Fritz BREAKS.

    Djokovic looks to the ground and is in clear pain. Fritz serving for the third set.

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