After 43 consecutive victories in Australia, Novak Djokovic experienced his first loss Down Under since 2018! Novak battled against Alex de Minaur at the United Cup in Perth and fell 6-4, 6-4 after an hour and 33 minutes, experiencing his first loss of the season.
Djokovic struggled with his right wrist, unable to play at his best and challenge a rock-solid opponent. Novak made too many forehand errors, and his serve could not bring as many free points as usual. Djokovic gave his best to stay in touch with the home favorite, but chasing victory became impossible without those two crucial elements in his game.
De Minaur produced fury behind the initial shot, taking 33 out of 34 points after landing in the first serve and never facing a break point. Novak could not endure the pressure, getting broken once in each set and ending his Australian streak.
Alex played bold and aggressive tennis, looking determined and outplaying the world's best player. Djokovic started the match with a fine hold after a backhand down the line winner. De Minaur followed that pace in game two and leveled the score at 2-2 with a service winner two games later.
Novak Djokovic struggled with his right wrist against Alex de Minaur.
They reached 30-30 in the fifth game before Novak fired two winners to bring it home and remain on the positive side. The home player grabbed a thrilling point at the net at 2-3, still serving well and following the pace of world no.
1. Djokovic experienced the first issues in the seventh game, missing a couple of shots and struggling to impose his serve. The Serb squandered a 40-15 lead and faced two break points. Novak stayed calm and denied them with a powerful serve and a drop shot winner, climbing back and holding with a service winner for 4-3.
Alex did not think about wasted opportunities, serving well in game eight and pushing strong on the return at 4-4. Novak netted a forehand and experienced three break points, with his right wrist bothering more and more. Djokovic sprayed a forehand error on the second, falling 5-4 behind and allowing de Minaur to serve for the opener.
The home favorite attacked in the tenth game and produced a hold at 15 for 6-4 after 49 minutes and momentum. Novak recovered his serve a bit at the beginning of the second set, although he stood powerless on the return.
Alex held at love in game six with a service winner and prepared an assault on the return in the next one.
Djokovic wasted a 40-15 lead and faced a break point after a tired backhand. The Serb hit a double fault to fall 4-3 behind and seal his fate in this one. Firing on all cylinders, de Minaur grabbed the eighth game at love after Djokovic's forehand mistake, moving 5-3 in front and closer to the finish line.
Novak served to stay in the match in game nine and held at 30 to prolong the action. The Aussie served for a career-best triumph at 5-4 and earned three match points with a forehand down the line winner. The home favorite squandered them, including a double fault on the third, bringing Djokovic back to deuce for the first time.
Alex fired a service winner for his fourth match point and converted it after Novak's loose backhand, celebrating a massive victory. "I have enough time to get myself in the right shape for the Australian Open; that matters most. The injury impacted my serve and forehand, but it should be fine," Novak Djokovic said.