Jan de Witt will seek a new job following the Australian Open, as he parted ways with the struggling Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili. The German coach commented Novak Djokovic's title chase, saying he expected more from Daniil Medvedev in the final and that Alexander Zverev was the only one who could have stopped the Serb en route to his ninth Australian Open crown.
Novak experienced an abdominal injury against Taylor Fritz in the third round and couldn't train ahead of the encounters against Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev. After beating Milos in four sets, Novak faced Alexander in the quarters and beat him 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 in three and a half hours to advance into his ninth Australian Open semi-final.
The German gave his best to follow the rival's pace and had an early lead in three sets, alongside a set point in the fourth set's closing stages, wasting all that to propel the Serb through. Djokovic lost serve in the opening game following a double fault and fended off a break point in game five to remain within one break deficit.
Alexander served well in games six and eight to control the scoreboard and wasted a set point on the return at 5-3. The German served for the set and got broken a few minutes later, allowing Novak to level the score at 5-5 and extend the set.
Alexander claimed a lengthy point at 6-6 in the tie break and sealed it with a service winner after an hour. Zverev lost the ground a bit in set number two, and Novak won it 6-2 in under half an hour to level the overall score at 1-1.
Zverev was off to a better start in set number three, taking 13 of the opening 16 points for a 3-0 advantage. Novak smashed his racquet at the end of the third game and started to play better, taking 20 of the last 26 points to rattle off five straight games and turn the tables.
Alexander hit a double fault in the seventh game to lost serve and fell behind after netting a backhand at 4-4. Novak held at 15 in game ten to secure the set, moving one step away from the finish line.
Jan de Witt spoke about Novak Djokovic's victory over Alexander Zverev.
Like in the previous one, the German opened a 3-0 advantage in set number four before Novak pulled the break back to stay in contention.
The Serb saved two break points at 3-4 before Zverev held at love for a 5-4 advantage. Djokovic closed the tenth game with an ace and sent the pressure to the other side of the net. Alexander hit a service winner with no signs of nerve to grab the 11th game at love and created a set point in the next one with a backhand down the line winner.
Novak stayed calm and erased it with an ace, holding when Zverev netted a forehand to bring a tie break. They hit winners in the opening five points before Alexander moved 5-4 up with an ace down the T line. Novak won the next two points on serve for a match point that Alexander saved for more drama.
Djokovic scored a mini-break at 6-6 and sealed the deal with an ace for his ninth Australian Open semi-final. "Nole had his abdominal problem, but it doesn't cause troubles when you serve. I'm not sure yet whether Djokovic was that good or the others played below their level.
I would have thought that Medvedev was the second player besides Zverev who would have had a real chance against Novak. In retrospect, you have to say that Alexander was the only one who could have defeated Novak en route to the title," Jan de Witt said.