MELBOURNE: Top seed Novak Djokovic survived a major injury scare as he battled past American Taylor Fritz 7-6(1) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.
Defending champion Djokovic, seeking a ninth title in Melbourne, looked in command when he took the opening two sets but began to suffer with a side injury early in the third set.
He needed to leave Rod Laver Arena to have treatment and was grimacing in pain at times as the 23-year-old Fritz took advantage to take the next two sets.
The crowd were removed midway through the fourth set as Melbourne’s new COVID-19 lockdown came into effect.
But Djokovic, despite still looking in discomfort, did enough to win the deciding set and live to fight another day.