Australian Open 2021: Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem Advance to 4th Round

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2021

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating United States' Talyor Fritz in their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Andy Brownbill/Associated Press

The biggest story from Day 5 at the 2021 Australian Open is an injury Novak Djokovic suffered in his third-round match against Taylor Fritz. 

Djokovic held off Fritz's upset bid with a 7-6(1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 win in a match that lasted more than three hours. The men's No. 1 seed injured his midsection early in the third set when his legs slid out from underneath him on a return shot. 

After taking a medical timeout, Djokovic was noticeably favoring his midsection the rest of the match. He was limping around on the court in between play. 

Djokovic told reporters after the win he doesn't know if he will be able to keep playing in the tournament. 

"Right now, I know it's a tear, definitely, of the muscle. So I don't know if I'll manage to recover from that in less than two days," he said. "I don't know. I don't know. I don't know if I'm gonna step out on to the court or not.”

If there's a reason to be optimistic about Djokovic going forward, his service game remained strong against Fritz even after the injury:

Dan Tennis @DanTennis1

Novak Djokovic saved again by his service. Despite the injury during almost 3 sets : 15 aces, 75% points won on his 1st serve.

Djokovic's next scheduled match is against Milos Raonic in the fourth round on Sunday. 

Here are other notable results from Friday's matches at Melbourne Park, via AusOpen.com.


Men's Singles 

No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 27 Taylor Fritz: 7-6(1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 

No. 6 Alexander Zverev def. No. 32 Adrian Mannarino: 6-3, 6-3, 6-1

No. 18 Grigor Dimitrov def. No. 15 Pablo Carreno Busta: 6-0, 1-0 (Retired)

No. 20 Felix Auger-Aliassime def. No. 11 Denis Shapovalov: 7-5, 7-5, 6-3

Aslan Karatsev def. No. 8 Diego Schwartzman: 6-3, 6-3, 6-3

No. 14 Milos Raonic def. Marton Fucsovics: 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-2, 6-2

No. 3 Dominic Thiem def. Nick Kyrgios: 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4


Women's Singles

No. 2 Simona Halep def. No. 32 Veronika Kudermetova: 6-1, 6-3

No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka def. Ann Lin: 6-3, 6-1

No. 10 Serena Williams def. Anastasia Potapova: 7-6(5), 6-2

No. 3 Naomi Osaka def. No. 27 Ons Jabeur: 6-3, 6-2

No. 5 Elina Svitolina def. Coco Gauff: 6-4, 6-3

No. 14 Garbine Muguruza def. Zarina Diyas: 6-1, 6-1

No, 15 Iga Swiatek def. Fiona Ferro: 6-4, 6-3

No. 19 Marketa Vondrousova def. Sorana Cirstea: 6-2, 6-4


On the women's side, Serena Williams held off an early test from Anastasia Potapova to win 7-6(5), 6-2. The seven-time Australian Open champion lost in the third round last year, so those struggles in the first set on Friday likely caused some concern. 

In the second set, though, Williams seemed much more comfortable and was even laughing after a no-look shot in the midst of a long rally:

espnW @espnW

Serena was laughing before the point even ended. What a rally 😱 @serenawilliams https://t.co/oY6h1Weekv

Williams' next opponent will be No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka. The 22-year-old from Belarus is in the fourth round for the first time in her career after a straight-set win over Ann Lin. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two stars on the WTA Tour. 

"She's a great player, and it's always a big challenge to play against these kind of players," Sabalenka told reporters about her upcoming match. "But I'm going to do everything I can to get this win. We're all here for the wins and I'm going to do everything."

Naomi Osaka continues to roll in the early rounds with a straight-set win over Ons Jabeur. The 2019 Australian Open champion extended her winning streak to 17 consecutive matches and has yet to drop a set in her three matches this week.

Osaka needed just 78 minutes to put away Jabeur on Friday. Her three wins so far in this tournament have lasted a combined total of three hours, 27 minutes. By comparison, Djokovic's win over Fritz took three hours, 25 minutes. 

The biggest upset on either side of the draw saw No. 8 Diego Schwartzman fall in straight sets to unranked Aslan Karatsev. 

Karatsev, who made the tournament as a qualifier, hit 50 winners and had a 9-0 advantage in aces against Schwartzman. The victory marked his first-ever against a player ranked in the top 10. 

Third-round play will resume on Friday night with Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Ashleigh Barty among the notable players in action.