Novak Djokovic is safely through into his 13th Australian Open quarter-final. Novak did not play at his best in the opening three rounds, dealing with a hamstring injury and taking medical timeouts. Still, there were no signs of discomfort against Alex de Minaur at Rod Laver Arena on Monday, as Djokovic scored a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 triumph in two hours and six minutes.
The Serb played his best match in 2023, staying focused from start to finish to leave the rival behind and remain on the title course. Andy Roddick was delighted with what he saw from Novak, praising the Serb's game and stating there is no place for the opponent to attack him when he plays like this.
Djokovic grabbed half of the return points and kept de Minaur at under ten winners. Novak delivered six breaks from 12 opportunities and never experienced issues behind his initial shot. The Serb hit 26 winners and 27 unforced errors and controlled the pace in the shortest and more advanced rallies to drop only five games and keep his title hopes.
Novak made a strong start, feeling good on the court and losing five points in his games in the opener. Alex stayed in touch in the opening four games before fading from the court for good. The Serb broke at love in game six to open a 4-2 advantage and grabbed another return game at 5-2 after the rival's mistake to wrap up the opener in 35 minutes.
With everything working his way, Novak lost six points in his games in the second set and left the opponent far behind. Djokovic broke de Minaur in games two and four to build a 6-2, 5-0 advantage in no time and rattle off nine straight games!
Alex avoided a bagel with a hold in game six before Novak fired a backhand crosscourt winner in the next one for 6-2, 6-1 in swift 75 minutes! Eager to seal the deal as soon as possible, the Serb raced into a 4-0 lead in the third set against the powerless opponent.
Alex avoided a bagel with a hold after deuce in game five and wished for at least some chances on the return. Instead, Djokovic produced another comfortable hold to open a 5-1 gap and force the rival to serve to stay in the match.
Novak created a match point in game seven with a volley winner, and Alex saved it with a powerful serve. The Aussie fired another to bring the game home and reduce the deficit. Djokovic served for the victory at 5-2 and held in game eight to sail into the last eight.
Novak will face Andrey Rublev in a battle for the semi-final. "Clinical for Novak. There is just no place to attack him. It will take a Herculean performance from someone to take him out. I do not see it happening," Andy Roddick said.
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