Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Djokovic kicks up a racket as change aids Australian defence

Novak Djokovic had been wondering whether his change to a new racket might damage his chances of successfully defending his Australian Open title here next week, but the 21-year-old Serb yesterday recovered the form that had deserted him in his first tournament of the season. Armed with a Head racket in place of his previous Wilson, Djokovic beat France's Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-1, 6-2 at the Sydney International, a huge improvement on his performance in Brisbane, where he lost to Ernests Gulbis.

Djokovic said he felt much more comfortable with his new racket. "It's a very hard thing to do," he said. "It's probably the most difficult decision in tennis, switching your racket when things are going well and with the way I finished last season."

Serena Williams, playing in Sydney, had match points against her for the second time this week before beating Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki 6-7, 6-3, 7-6. Having saved four match points in her first-round win over Sam Stosur, Williams saved three more before booking her place in the semi-finals.