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Djokovic sparks Serb celebration in the midnight hour


DE Online Desk
PERTH: Novak Djokovic got the party started for 2024 as he sealed a 2-1 win for Serbia over China near the stroke of midnight on Sunday at the United Cup in Perth.
The world number one kicked off the new season by teaming up in mixed doubles with compatriot and longtime friend Olga Danilovic to hold off Zheng Qinwen and ATP number 58 Zhang Zhizhen for a 6-4, 1-6, 10-6 victory.
Glancing at his watch after his on-court interview, Djokovic then implored the house DJ to fill in for five minutes before leading the RAC stadium crowd in a rousing countdown to the midnight hour.
“Thanks to the fans for staying this late,” the winner of 24 Grand Slams said.
“We’re glad you decided to spend this special night with us.”
The Serbs were playing their first match at the competition while China now stand 1-1.
Djokovic won his earlier singles over Zhang 6-3, 6-2 while Daniovic went down 6-4, 6-2 to her Chinese opponent Zheng, the WTA’s 2023 Most Improved Player who has risen to be world number 15.
The 22-year-old Danilovic could not praise her celebrated teammate enough.
“This was number one on my bucket list – to play with Novak and to win, I’m so happy.
“This was an incredible match, I gave my all and I’m glad to finish 2023 like this, it could not be better.
“I’ve looked up to Novak from the first moment I touched a racquet.”

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