ADELAIDE, Australia (AP)Top-seeded Novak Djokovic has reached the quarterfinals of the Adelaide International where he will face Denis Shapovalov.
Djokovic defeated Quentin Halys 7-6 (3) 7-6 (5) on Thursday, and Canadian Shapovalov beat Roman Safiullin 6-4, 6-3 to advance.
Djokovic and other top players are using this event as a warm-up for the Australian Open beginning Jan. 16. Djokovic missed the Australian Open last year because he was unvaccinated. He’s been allowed to enter this year as COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed.
Djokovic lauded Halys’ play in a very tight match.
”It was a great performance from my opponent today,” Djokovic said. ”I want to congratulate him for great quality tennis and a great fight today. Tough luck, but he played like a top-10 player.”
Djokovic said he was still trying to get a feel for his game.
”Two tiebreaks were probably the most realistic score of today’s match and I’m just glad to overcome the tough challenge,” Djokovic said.
Djokovic is unbeaten in seven matches against Shapovalov. However, the Canadian may have added confidence this time after Canada defeated Australia in the Davis Cup final in November.
”Last year we started with winning the ATP Cup and finished it off with winning the Davis Cup, so definitely the team events were a good success for me last year,” Shapovalov said. ”I’m definitely trying to implement that on the individual side as well, and so far it’s been a great start.”
On the women’s side of the combined ATP-WTA event, former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka defeated Zheng Qinwen 6-2, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.
Azarenka is a two-time Australian Open champion. She will next face Linda Noskova, who defeated American Claire Liu 6-2, 6-2.
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