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Djokovic saves championship point, wins Adelaide trophy

Novak Djokovic lifted the trophy on Sunday against Sebastian Korda

Novak Djokovic, Adelaide 2023 Novak Djokovic, Adelaide 2023 | ┬ę AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Serb Novak Djokovic, the top seed, edged out American Sebastian Korda 6-7 (8), 7-6 (3), 6-4 to win the Adelaide International 1 trophy at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre on Sunday.

It is his 92nd tour-level title, and marks his 34th match win on the bounce in Australia. He has now equalled Rafael Nadal’s tally of tour titles – the fourth most in ATP history. Three legends are the only ones to have won more than this particular duo: Jimmy Connors (109), Roger Federer (103) and Ivan Lendl (94).

Djokovic did it the hard way, though, saving a match point in the second set. Korda’s chance of the championship came when he was 7-6 (8), 6-5 up in the second set, on the Djokovic serve.

But the 35-year-old held his nerve – as one would expect – to force a tiebreak and from there a deciding set.

And after taking a medical time-out in his semi-final against Daniil Medvedev on Saturday, he seemed to be suffering no physical ill-effects. The match lasted three hours and nine minutes – with one hour and 13 minutes of that coming in the first set alone, as the American needed seven set points, five of them on serve.

Korda: “like you’re dreaming”

“Throughout the match, you kind of look over and you kind of feel like you’re dreaming,” admitted Korda, born in 2000, in the press conference afterwards. “I’ve watched him play on TV basically all my life [Djokovic turned pro in 2003 – ed]. It was an unbelievable experience for me. It was very close, but I’ll take a lot of great things from it like I always do and move forward.”

It was a good week after all for the nine-time Australian Open winner, one year after his deportation from the country. Djokovic, ranked No 5, beat Frenchman Constant Lestienne (6-3, 6-2), Frenchman Quentin Halys (7-6 (3), 7-6 (5)), Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the No 7 seed (6-3, 6-4) and Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No 3 seed (6-3, 6-4) in the previous rounds of the Adelaide 1 tournament.

Korda, ranked No 33, defeated Andy Murray (7-6 (3), 6-3), Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut (6-4, 6-4), Italian Jannik Sinner, the No 6 seed (7-5, 6-1) and Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka (7-6 (5), 1-0 ret.) earlier in the tournament.

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