HomeSportsDjokovic and Sabalenka back at Australian Open


Novak Djokovic resumes his quest for a 25th Grand Slam title on Wednesday against home hope Alexei Popyrin, while fellow defending champion Aryna Sabalenka faces a second consecutive qualifier.

Serbian superstar Djokovic lost a set against Croatia’s Dino Prismic in his opening match and will not look to repeat the feat against 43rd-ranked Popyrin.

But the 10-time Australian Open winner is heading into the night match at Rod Laver Arena with concerns over his health, admitting he was “a bit under the weather” against Prismic.

He said, “Look, it is the way it is. You just have to try to deal with it and get over it and accept the circumstances and try to make the most of it.”

Should he come up against the Australian, the world number one will face a third round clash against experienced Frenchman Gael Monfils or Argentinian Tomas Martin Etcheverry, who ended Andy Murray’s tournament career.

Sabalenka will face Djokovic on Center Court and will face Czech qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova.

The powerful Belarusian second seed lost just one game in defeating her first-round opponent, leaving Fruhvirtova facing more anger.

Men’s fourth seed Jannik Sinner is also in action against Dutchman Jesper de Jong at the Margaret Court Arena as he looks to maintain his impressive recent form, which has also included a win over Djokovic.

US Open champion Coco Gauff, who performed brilliantly in her first match, will move on from Sinner against fellow American Caroline Dolehide in search of her first title at Melbourne Park.

Men’s seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, a losing finalist last year, meets Australian Jordan Thompson but is not worried about a hostile crowd, with a large Greek contingent in Melbourne.

“I know I have a huge fan base, a big crowd with me. That gives me confidence, that gives me an extra kind of confidence that I don’t normally have in other tournaments,” he said.

Other players in action include exciting Russian 16-year-old Mira Andreeva against women’s sixth seed Ons Jabeur, former champion Caroline Wozniacki and men’s fifth seed Andrey Rublev.

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