Doubts over Novak Djokovic ahead of Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has now pulled out of successive tournaments. (AFP)
Updated 31 December 2017
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Doubts over Novak Djokovic ahead of Australian Open

DOHA: Former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic yesterday withdrew from next week’s Qatar Open, casting doubt on his participation at the Australian Open later in January.
It is the second tournament Djokovic has pulled out of in as many days owing to a niggling elbow injury.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion was top seed in Doha, but in a statement he said he would not be able to defend the title he won by beating Andy Murray last year.
His withdrawal comes just 24 hours after the injury forced him to drop out of an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
“Unfortunately, the situation with the elbow has not changed for the better since yesterday,” said Djokovic.
“I still feel the pain. Therefore, I will have to withdraw from (the) ATP tournament in Doha.”
The Serb added: “Only when I’m 100 percent ready to play, I will be able to come back.
“I hope it will be soon. I want to thank everyone for patience and understanding.”
The latest announcement raises fresh doubts over the long-term future of the 30-year-old and more immediately his availability for the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 15.
In recent years, Djokovic has used the tournament as a valuable warm-up for the Australian Open.
In 2016, after beating Rafa Nadal in the Qatar final he went on to claim his sixth Australian title.
Last year in Doha, he ended then world No. 1 Murray’s 28-match winning streak to claim his second Qatar title in a riveting final.
Djokovic was targeting Doha as his first match since his quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon in July this year.
Austria’s Dominic Thiem, world ranked No. 5, has now been made the Qatar Open number one seed.
Qatar Open tournament director admitted Djokovic “will surely be missed.”


Jabeur becomes first Tunisian woman to make WTA final

Updated 19 October 2018
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Jabeur becomes first Tunisian woman to make WTA final

  • Jabeur, ranked 101st in the world and who came through qualifying, prevailed over Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
  • In Saturday’s final, Jabeur will face sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia, last year’s runner-up, who put out Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.

MOSCOW: Ons Jabeur made history on Friday when she became the first Tunisian woman to reach a WTA final by seeing off Latvian fifth seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
Jabeur, ranked 101st in the world and who came through qualifying, prevailed in one hour 37 minutes.
“This is really amazing and I’m really happy. I gave it all today, and it wasn’t easy because she plays really good,” said 24-year-old Jabeur, who unleashed 45 winners on her way to victory.
“Maybe I was too relaxed in the second set. At the end, I stayed calm. It was a little bit frustrating because I missed some easy balls, but I said I was just going to play my game, and if it goes, it goes.”
In Saturday’s final, Jabeur will face sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia, last year’s runner-up, who put out Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.
“They’re both playing good, so I hope they fight for four hours,” Jabeur had said. “The best win is that there is a Tunisian in the final.”
Jabeur lost her only career meeting against Kasatkina at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“She (Jabeur) plays interesting tennis with plenty of drop shots, often advances to the net,” Kasatkina said.
“Everything is possible in tomorrow’s final and I will just come onto the court and try to play my best.”
In the ATP event, France’s Adrian Mannarino ended Egor Gerasimov’s run beating the Belarus qualifier 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 to set up a semifinal with Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who ousted fourth seeded Serb Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia beat last year’s runner-up Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 will face third-seeded compatriot Karen Khachanov, who saw off Mirza Basic of Bosnia 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).