TOKYO (Reuters) -Novak Djokovic qualified for the Tokyo 2020 men’s singles quarter-finals on Wednesday, satisfied with his form and organizers’ decision to delay the start of matches amid complaints from players over hot conditions and wet.
Tennis matches at Ariake Tennis Park will start from 3:00 p.m. local time (06:00 GMT) from Thursday, the International Tennis Federation’s governing body said after requests from players who had struggled in the sweltering weather.
World number two Daniil Medvedev, who along with Djokovic had been pushing for the schedule change, said he struggled to breathe in his 6-2 3-6 6-2 third round victory over Italian Fabio Fognini.
“Even in the first set, I didn’t feel good enough with my breathing,” said the 25-year-old, who represents the Russian Olympic Committee. “That’s why I called the physiotherapist, I had the impression that my diaphragm was blocked.”
Medvedev will next face Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, whose compatriot Paula Badosa withdrew from her quarterfinal women’s singles match against Czech Marketa Vondrousova due to heatstroke. Badosa and Carreno Busta have also withdrawn from the mixed doubles event which started on Wednesday.
Djokovic, who appeared in court later in the afternoon, said he was pleased with the schedule change after a comfortable 6-3 6-1 win over Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
He continued that match with a mixed doubles victory, partnering with Nina Stojanovic to knock out Brazilian pair Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani 6-3 6-4.
“I am very satisfied with my performance,” said Djokovic.
“It’s the first time I’ve officially played in mixed doubles and it’s amazing how good we clicked and the chemistry was really good from the start and we just played a great game. Perfect end to the day, two On two.”
The 34-year-old Serb, who aims to become the first man to win all four Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold in the same calendar year, booked a singles quarter-final with Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who has overtaken Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 7-6 (7) 6-0.
Nishikori, who won bronze at the Rio Games in 2016, is the host nation’s last hope for a singles medal following the loss of women’s number two Naomi Osaka in the third round on Tuesday.
Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, who reached the final at Roland Garros last month, was beaten 2-6 7-6 (4) 6-2 by Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also lost, losing 6-0 3-6 6-3 in women’s singles to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, who will face Kazakh Elena Rybakina for a place in the medal match. ‘gold.
Ukraine’s world number six Elina Svitolina, fourth and best surviving seed in the women’s singles table, qualified with a 6-4 6-4 victory over error-prone Italian Camila Giorgi.
Bride Svitolina, watched by her husband and French tennis star Gael Monfils, said she felt no extra pressure following the fall of top seeds Ash Barty, Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka.
“You know when you are higher ranked everyone wants to beat you and everyone is extremely motivated to beat you,” she said.
“I’m just trying to focus on my game and not think too much about what’s going on on the other side of the net.”
(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Peter Rutherford, John Stonestreet and Christian Radnedge)