Serb who vowed to ‘avenge’ Djokovic wins again at Australian Open
Miomir Kecmanovic continues to make good on his pledge to ‘avenge’ deported countryman Novak Djokovic as the Serb overcame America’s Tommy Paul in straight sets in their second-round Australian Open meeting on Wednesday.
Kecmanovic, 22, had been drawn to face Djokovic in the first round at Melbourne Park before the world number one lost his last-ditch legal battle to remain in the country.
Djokovic was replaced by ‘lucky loser’ Savatore Caruso of Italy, who was sent packing by Kecmanovic in straight sets in the first round.
After that meeting, the Serb admitted he wanted to go as deep as possible in Melbourne in honor of Djokovic.
“We said we were going to give everything we have, try to avenge him in a way and make him proud,” Kecmanovic said.
The world number 77 faced a tighter contest against American Paul on Wednesday but still emerged the winner in three sets, 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 7-6 (10-8).
Kecmanovic’s progress into the third round marks his best-ever run at a Grand Slam thus far in his young career.
Miomir Kecmanovic, who was supposed to play Novak Djokovic in the first round, gets another very good win over Tommy Paul 7-6(7), 7-5, 7-6(8) to reach the 3rd round at the #AusOpen.Saved multiple SPs in the 1st and 3rd sets.Gets Sonego next in this very open section... pic.twitter.com/hPZA0xZfaf— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 19, 2022
The Serb next faces 25th seed Lorenzo Sonego on Friday, but said he did not feel any pressure ahead of the match.
“I was supposed to play the world number one, and now I am in the third round. I don’t feel the pressure, I’m grateful to be here,” he said.
“It was in my head – I played in Slams for three years, I always lost in the second round. A stone fell from my heart that I finally broke through.”
Italian opponent Sonego, 26, has reached the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon in past years, but will be appearing for the first time in a third-round match in Melbourne.
Finishing strong 💪 🇮🇹 Lorenzo Sonego rallies for his best #AusOpen result 👏 #AO2022pic.twitter.com/WjgjAh3IKJ— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2022
The Italian eased past America’s Sam Querrey in straight sets in the first round, but needed four sets to overcome Germany’s Oscar Otte in their second-round meeting on Wednesday.
Elsewhere at Melbourne Park, 2009 champion Rafael Nadal moved into the third round with a straight-sets victory over Yannick Hanfmann of Germany.
Rafa rolls on 💪 🇪🇸 @RafaelNadal puts in a top performance to move past Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 6-3 6-4. #AusOpen • #AO2022🎥: @wwos • @espn • @eurosport • @wowowtennispic.twitter.com/MjWumk2z27— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2022
The Spanish 20-time Grand Slam champion next plays the winner of the contest between Russian Olympic silver medalist Karen Khachanov and France’s Benjamin Bonzi.