Novak Djokovic made an encouraging return to action after a six-month lay-off in an exhibition match at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne

Djokovic makes his return



Originally published on 10/01/18 00:00

The former world No.1 defeated Dominic Thiem 6-1 6-4 before declaring himself ‘very happy with how it went,’ and stating he intends to play the Australian Open ‘for now’.

It was a gentle workout for the 12-time major champion and he looked sharp from the baseline as he dictated proceedings against his off-colour opponent.

The 30 year-old, who has been absent since Wimbledon with an elbow complaint, admits he is not yet fully-fit after being forced to pull out of last week’s Qatar Open.

"I don't say I'm at 100%, I can only say that when I get the feel of a tournament,” said Djokovic. “Ideally. I would have had another tournament before the start of the Open, but it was not meant to be."

The six-time Australian Open champion wore a compression sleeve and adopted a new service motion against Thiem, but he appeared to perform without discomfort.

“It was a fantastic test for me to see where I am, to see what we have done as a team and whether it works on the court – and it works pretty well,” added Djokovic.

“Especially the serve, that was the biggest question mark because of the elbow, that shot in my game was compromised.”

Meanwhile at the Sydney International, defending champion, Gilles Muller, progressed to the quarter-finals after a narrow 7-6(5) 6-4 success over John Millman.

Alex De Minaur impressed in Brisbane last week – and he is maintaining his excellent form at his hometown tournament. The teenager was leading Damir Dzumhur 6-2 3-0 when the Bosnian retired.

There were also second round wins for Paolo Lorenzi, Daniil Medvedev, Fabio Fognini, Adrian Mannarino, Benoit Paire and Feliciano Lopez.

In the women’s event, top seed, Garbine Muguruza, powered her way into the last eight by edging a tightly-contested duel with Kiki Bertens 6-3 7-6(6). The Spaniard will encounter Daria Gavrilova on Thursday, who got the better of Sam Stosur 6-4 6-2.

Camila Giorgi blasted her way past Petra Kvitova 7-6(7) 6-2 and Agnieszka Radwanska overcame CiCi Bellis 7-6(4) 6-0.


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