Djokovic into Astana final after Medvedev retires injured

Laver Cup 2022 - Day Three
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ASTANA, Kazakhstan – Novak Djokovic survived a second-set tiebreaker in the Astana Open semifinals, and shortly after, his opponent Daniil Medvedev retired with a leg injury.

Djokovic advanced at 4-6, 7-6 (6). He will play third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.

“I really hope that his injury is nothing too serious,” Djokovic said. “I know Daniil, he’s a great guy, he’s a fighter, he’s a big competitor. . . . He told me that he pulled an adductor muscle in his leg.

“It was such a close match, particularly in the second set. I would probably say he was a better player on the court in both sets. I was fighting and trying to find a way. I found a way to win the second, but I’m just sad for the tournament and for these people who were enjoying the battle, and for Daniil that it had to end this way.”

Going in to the match, Medvedev had a 4-6 win-loss record against Djokovic, and they hadn’t met since last November in the Paris final, where Djokovic won in three sets.

In the other semifinal, Tsitsipas rallied to beat fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Rublev won the first set after saving three break points. Tsitsipas broke in the 10th game of the second to level the set score. He was more aggressive the longer the match went, and far more decisive than Rublev in the decider.

“My mentality kind of changed,” Tsitsipas said. “I played with more of an aggressive game style and didn’t have anything by luck. I was conscious of every single decision I was trying to follow and execute and those service games worked out pretty well. They kept me in the game and gave me that hope.”

He will be going for his third title of the year, after Monte Carlo and Mallorca, in his sixth final of the season.

Novak Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.