Australian Open 2023: 'Did not know if I was going to prevail' - Djokovic after battling past Dimitrov
Australian Open 2023: Novak Djokovic had to dig deep as he battled past Grigor Dimitrov to win his third-round match and move into the pre-quarters. However, he admitted that he was still determining triumphing in the contest.
Record nine-time former Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia was again put into a test as he faced off against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the third round of the 2023 AO on Saturday. Struggling with his hamstring since winning the Adelaide International a couple of weeks back, he was given a tough competition and physically challenged, as the Bulgarian looked to take advantage of it. However, the Serbian dug deep to develop a straight-set 7-6(7), 6-3, 6-4 conquest to move in the pre-quarters. In the meantime, Djokovic was satisfied with the win, crediting Dimitrov for coming up with his A-game, while he also expressed that he doubted himself of emerging victorious.
"Every point and game mattered. The turning point for both players was right from the start. Making an early break was important. I didn't know how I was going to feel physically. I was going up and down. Grigor is someone that I truly admire and respect. He is one of my best friends on Tour. We go back a long time. He is one of the most talented players you will see. He is such a great athlete," Djokovic stated following the success.
"I thought a double break in the third would be enough, but he was locked in. Until the very last shot, I did not know if I would prevail. It was an incredible battle. Three sets, over three hours. Let's rest up and prepare for the next one," concluded Djokovic.
Djokovic has extended his lead over Dimitrov 10-1 in the ATP head-to-head encounters. The former would be facing local favourite Alex de Minaur on Monday. While the Serbian is chasing his record-extending 10th AO title and record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam championship, he would also become once again become the world number one if he emerges triumphant with the title next Sunday.