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Tuesday June 18, 2024

Djokovic two wins away from ending barren run

By Reuters
May 25, 2024
Novak Djokovic in action during his round match against Britains Dan Evans.—Reuters/File
Novak Djokovic in action during his round match against Britain's Dan Evans.—Reuters/File

GENEVA: Novak Djokovic took a step closer to ending his title drought in 2024 after beating Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 7-5 6-1 on Thursday to reach the Geneva Open semi-finals.

The world number one, who accepted a late wildcard to compete at the ATP 250 tournament ahead of defending his French Open title, got himself out of a hole as he saved four set points from 0-40 down in the 10th game before breaking his opponent for a 6-5 lead. He then served out the first set.

The 37-year-old Serb kept the momentum going as he broke serve three times in the second set, lasting just 25 minutes, to prevail over the world number 27. “Great win. I thought that the first set could have gone his way easily because I think he was the better player for most of the first set,” said Djokovic, who has been stuck on 98 singles titles since triumphing at last year’s ATP Finals.

“He had three set points. I was facing 0-40 at 5-4 for him, so we could have been having a completely different direction of the match if he converted those set points. “I was lucky to find some really good serves and from that moment onwards really played some good solid tennis. The second set was really good. I want to thank everybody for the support on this cold day.” The 24-time Grand Slam winner will face Czech Tomas Machac in Friday’s semi-finals. Family matters as Swiatek pursues Olympic dream

World number one Iga Swiatek considers the Olympics to be her most important tournament because her father competed in the 1988 Seoul Games, she said on Thursday ahead of her French Open title defence. Swiatek’s father, Tomasz, represented Poland in the men’s Quadruple Sculls rowing event in Seoul, finishing seventh.

“Because of that I know that the Olympics are the most important event probably in sports overall,” Swiatek said at the French Open’s draw ceremony. “Winning any medal would be a dream come true. “In Tokyo, I remember how stressful it was. This year I’m trying to really keep my expectations low but really work hard to be prepared for the Olympics,” the 22-year old added.

She lost to Spain’s Paula Badosa in the second round in Tokyo. “I’ll try to do everything step by step, treat this tournament as any other one, even though these are the Olympics, not to put too much pressure on my shoulders,” Swiatek said.

Swiatek, who secured back-to-back titles in Madrid and Rome this year, is widely seen as the favourite to lift the French Open trophy for the third time in a row and fourth overall. “She showed last year that she is capable of maintaining the pressure and defending her title. It’s going to be difficult to topple her I think,” former world number one and tournament director Amelie Mauresmo told reporters. Swiatek is bidding to become the first woman to win three consecutive Roland Garros titles since Justine Henin in 2007.