Defending champion Djokovic, seeking a ninth title in Melbourne, looked in command when he took the opening two sets but began to suffer with a side injury early in the third set.
🇷🇸 IDEMO 🇷🇸@DjokerNole | #AO2021 | #AusOpen https://t.co/wD3cC7Cp1Q
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He needed to leave Rod Laver Arena to have treatment and was grimacing in pain at times as the 23-year-old Fritz took advantage to take the next two sets.
A tale of survival 📚@DjokerNole is into the round of 16 at the #AusOpen for the 1️⃣4️⃣th time.#AO2021 https://t.co/gkfqsAEKxn
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The crowd were removed midway through the fourth set as Melbourne’s new COVID-19 lockdown came into effect.
But Djokovic, despite still looking in discomfort, did enough to win the deciding set and live to fight another day.