Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Novak Djokovic defeated in bronze medal match and misses out on medal

The world No 1 Novak Djokovic lost to Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 at the Ariake Tennis Park; the loss marks a difficult end to his Olympic Games singles experience

Last Updated: 31/07/21 10:40am

Novak Djokovic pushed the match to a deciding set but could not overcome his Spanish opponent

Novak Djokovic will leave Tokyo without an Olympic Games singles medal after losing out to Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze medal match.

The world No 1 was back on court less than 24 hours after his shock defeat by Alexander Zverev, which ended his hopes of becoming the first man to complete the Golden Slam of all four major titles and Olympic singles gold in the same year.

Djokovic’s dejection was clear after his semi-final loss and added to when he then lost his mixed doubles semi-final with Nina Stojanovic.

In the battle for bronze on Saturday, the world No 1 saved a match point in the second set to force Carreno Busta into a decider.

However, he did not have the shot-making or oomph to overcome his Spanish opponent, and fell to a 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3 defeat.

This was the third time Djokovic has played a bronze medal match at the Olympics. He defeated James Blake in Beijing in 2008 but lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in London.

He had made winning a medal for Serbia one of his major goals for the season but his serve, which had gone badly off the boil against Zverev, was missing in action again in the first set and Carreno Busta broke for 3-2 while saving all five break points he faced.

He held his own in the second set, his serve much improved, but Carreno Busta repelled everything Djokovic could throw at him and he came from 1-4 down in the tie-break to force a match point at 5-6.

Djokovic showed his heart was still willing by saving it and taking the contest to a decider, but things quickly took another downward turn.

Pablo Carreno Busta taking it all in after securing a bronze medal at the Olympic Games

Pablo Carreno Busta taking it all in after securing a bronze medal at the Olympic Games

Carreno Busta was the opponent at the US Open last summer when Djokovic was defaulted for hitting a line judge with a ball and, when the Spaniard saved a break point in the opening game, his opponent again had a worrying loss of
control, flinging his racket into the stands.

Remarkably, he did not receive a warning, and Carreno Busta was clearly shocked that Djokovic was not given a point penalty when he angrily destroyed another racket after falling 3-0 behind.

Djokovic tried to turn the match around but Carreno Busta, who has played the best tennis of his career over the last year, withstood superbly to claim his first Olympic medal, finally clinching his sixth match point.

The 30-year-old lay amid the Olympic rings at the back of the court in celebration as his opponent waited to congratulate him at the net.

Djokovic still has a chance to win a bronze medal in mixed doubles, where he and Stojanovic will take on Australia’s Ashleigh Barty and John Peers in a rare meeting of the men’s and women’s world No 1s.

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