Tennis fans erupt over Barty and Djokovic development at Olympics

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Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic, pictured here in action at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic will face off for mixed doubles bronze at the Olympics. Image: Getty

Tennis fans were sent into in a frenzy on Friday after Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty both suffered crushing mixed doubles losses to set up a mouth-watering showdown in the bronze medal match.

It was a double blow for Djokovic as the Serbian star lost in the singles to end his dream of a rare 'Golden Slam', before he also lost his mixed doubles semi-final with Nina Stojanovic.

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Djokovic's bid to become the first man to complete the 'Golden Slam' was ended by Germany's Alexander Zverev in a staggering 1-6 6-3 6-1 boilover.

Steffi Graf remains the only player in tennis history to win all four majors and Olympic singles gold in the same year, doing so in 1988.

Djokovic had arrived in Tokyo after winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon already in 2021.

Singles victory in Tokyo would also have secured the 34-year-old the only major honour still missing from his collection - an Olympic gold.

But the 2008 Beijing bronze medallist lost that chance after Zverev secured the win with a crushing backhand down the line winner.

Djokovic then suffered more agony in the mixed doubles semi-final with Stojanovic as the Serbian pair fell 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 to Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev of the Russian Olympic Committee.

"Tough day man, really tough day," a visibly upset Djokovic told reporters.

"I feel so terrible right now. Can't be positive right now."

Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic, pictured here during their loss in the mixed doubles semi-final.
Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic look on during their loss in the mixed doubles semi-final. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic withdraws from Ash Barty showdown

Tennis fans did manage to find a positive - the fact that Djokovic and Barty would square off in the mixed doubles bronze medal match.

However that dream was also ruined on Saturday night when Djokovic withdrew from the mixed doubles match just minutes after losing the bronze medal singles match against Pablo Carreno-Busta.

Djokovic cited a shoulder injury for the withdrawal, handing the bronze medal to Barty and John Peers.

Barty suffered more Olympic heartbreak on Friday night, losing a cliffhanger semi-final 5-7 6-4 13-11 to Andrey Rublev and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova after letting a match point slip against the Russians in a tension-filled deciding super tiebreak.

Peers and the newly-crowned Wimbledon champion had been a point away from the chance to join doubles greats legends Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge as Australian tennis' only Games gold medallists.

But Barty and Peers had to settle for Bronze after Rublev, the men's world No.7, and Pavlyuchenkova, the women's 2021 French Open finalist, held their nerve to clinch a gallant comeback win on their third match point.

"It's a tough one to swallow," Barty said.

After a shock first-round exit in the singles, then a tight third-round loss in women's doubles with Storm Sanders, Barty seemed poised to make the mixed final after taking the opening set on Friday night.

But after overcoming the loss of the second set to establish a 6-4 advantage in the super tiebreak, Barty and Peers were unable to close out the thriller.

The prospect of seeing Barty and Djokovic go head-to-head had earlier sent tennis fans into an excited frenzy.

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with AAP

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