DUBAI (AFP) – Novak Djokovic said he will learn his fate about being granted entry into the United States (US) before the draw is revealed at Indian Wells, adding that he remains focussed on his campaign in Dubai in the meantime.
Djokovic, who continued his march towards a third title in as many tournaments this season with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the Dubai quarter-finals on Thursday night, is waiting to hear if the US government will allow him to enter the country without being vaccinated.
The Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells begins on March 8 and Djokovic said a decision will be made one way or the other before the draw for the ATP tournament is conducted on Monday.
“Whatever the decision is before the draw, if I’m not allowed, I’m going to pull out, of course, before the draw,” assured Djokovic.
The world number one, seeking a sixth career title in the northern emirate, improved to 5-0 against Hurkacz, 15-0 for the season, and has extended his overall winning streak to 20 consecutive matches, dating back to last November’s ATP Finals.
“It was a challenging match as it always is against Hubert. One of the best guys on the tour definitely, fantastic personality, very lovable guy,” said Djokovic, who next faces Daniil Medvedev who defeated Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2.
Djokovic, 35, faced zero break points on his own serve and was an impressive 12/13 at the net, needing just 71 minutes to close out the victory.
“I think he’s got one of the best serves in the game,” Djokovic said of the 11th-ranked Hurkacz.
“In the second set, until that 11th game, I didn’t really have too many chances against his serve.
“Fortunately for me I also found the rhythm on my serve throughout the second set. I’m really glad with how I played under pressure.”
Medvedev will try to overcome a 4-9 head-to-head record against Australian Open champion Djokovic. He has won back-to-back titles in Rotterdam and Doha, and is trying for a third in Dubai. He is on a 12-match winning streak and has not dropped a set this week.
“I’m playing good right now,” Medvedev said. “But when you play Novak, Novak is always the favourite.”
Alexander Zverev reached his first semi-final since tearing three ligaments in his right ankle during his clash with Rafael Nadal at the French Open last June.
The German seventh seed defeated fellow big-server, Italian Lorenzo Sonego, 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes, saving all six break points he faced.
The 25-year-old Zverev was ranked number three in the world and was up a set on Nadal in their Roland Garros semi-final last year when he suffered a horrific ankle injury.
“Last year during the French Open was the first time in my life where I went into matches, I went into the Alcaraz match, the Nadal match as well, and I thought ‘I can win the French Open and I’m going to win the French Open’,” stated Zverev, who spent seven months on the sidelines after sustaining the injury.
“Obviously I didn’t. Not only did I not win, I basically broke everything that I can in my ankle. So it was a tough period.”