Novak Djokovic Laver Cup 2022

‘I must elevate my level’ – Novak Djokovic shows grit to advance in Astana

Novak Djokovic remains on track in pursuit of a 90th career title after defeating Karen Khachanov to reach the last four in Astana.ย 

The 21-time Slam champion is seeded fourth at the ATP 500 event in Kazakhstan, overcoming his Russian adversary 6-4, 6-3 to book his spot in the semi-finals. It was not a straightforward win despite the scoreline, as evidence by the roar Djokovic let out after winning with his first ace of the second set.

“I honestly think I didn’t play as well from the baseline as I did in the first two matches,” he admitted. “But still it was enough. I managed to produce some good tennnis when it was most needed in both sets.

“I always expect the highest [level] from myself and hopefully I can still elevate my level for tomorrow because it’s going to be needed obviously whoever I play against.”

Djokovic will face either Daniil Medvedev or Roberto Bautista Agut in that semi-final. The world number seven has a winning record against both men, leading Medvedev 6-4 and the Spaniard 9-3.

When asked where his mental strength comes from, Djokovic gave a straightforward answer to sign off his post-match interview.

“Childhood,” he said, alluding to living in war-torn Serbia. “Growing up in Serbia, if you did grow up in Serbia you would understand.”

On the other side of the net, the loss extends a sorry streak for Khachanov. He has now lost 20 match in a row against top 10 opponents, a run stretching back to the Toronto Masters in August 2019.

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