Djokovic Overcomes Popyrin, Sickness, Wrist Injury & Rowdy Crowd At Australian Open

Djokovic Overcomes Popyrin, Sickness, Wrist Injury & Rowdy Crowd At Australian Open

by Zachary Wimer

Novak Djokovic dropped a set once more at the 2024 Australian Open, but he'll be glad to escape in only four sets because it could have been worse.

The Serbian won this event ten times, so his familiarity with the Rod Laver Arena is the best among all players. He generally doesn't face too many issues at the event, but things are a bit different this year.

For the first time in history, Djokovic lost at least one set in both his first and second-round matches. He could have lost more than one in this one, as it proved quite a bit more complicated than the match against Dino Prizmic, where he also dropped a set.

The first set was a standard one for Djokovic as he patiently waited for a bad service game from Popyrin and broke his serve when he got his chance. That proved enough for a 6-3 first-set win.

The second set was an interesting one as Djokovic misfired a bit more than usual while Popyrin kept his level high, especially on serve. That would be good enough to win the second set 6-4, as the home crowd erupted.

The third set was, in a way, the crucial one because Popyrin would work himself to three consecutive set points at 5-4. That was a major chance to complicate the match even further because Djokovic wasn't playing very well at that time, but the Australian couldn't use his chances, allowing the 24-time Grand Slam champion to escape.

The Serbian would then outplay Popyrin in the tie-break, taking it 7-4. That was a huge momentum shifter as Djokovic opened really well in the final set while seemingly struggling with his wrist and, at the same time, battling an illness that he talked about earlier in Melbourne.

Popyrin held his own initially but ran into some issues later. Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead after one person from the crowd provoked him, to what he responded and appeared to be even more fired up ever since.

From there, he cruised towards the finish line. The final score was 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 for the Serbian, who set up a third-round match with the 30th-seeded Tomas Martin Etcheverry from Argentina.

Novak Djokovic vs Alexei Popyrin Match Stats:

Novak Djokovic Alexei Popyrin
11 Aces 17
0 Double Faults 4
61% First Serve % 58%
82% (60/73) Points Won After First Serve % 73% (47/64)
59% (27/46) Points Won After Second Serve % 57% (27/47)
27% (3/11) Break Point Conversion 29% (2/7)
31 Winners 52
32 Unforced Errors 58


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