Tennis: Novak Djokovic Reaches Australian Open Quarter-Finals With Ruthless Victory

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Top seed Novak Djokovic moved ominously into the Australian Open quarter-finals with a ruthless thrashing of French 20th seed Adrian Mannarino. Djokovic, chasing a record 25th Grand Slam title, claimed a dominant 6-0 6-0 6-3 win in one hour and 44 minutes. The 36-year-old will face 12th seed Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals after the American beat last year’s finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. “The first two sets were the best I have played in a while,” Djokovic said.

Until Mannarino won the second game of the third set, Djokovic was on course to be the first player to win all three sets without dropping a game at a Grand Slam since 1993 – a feat never achieved at the Australian Open. When Mannarino did clinch the game, the Rod Laver Arena crowd cheered wildly and the Frenchman broke into a huge smile.

“I really wanted to lose that game because the tension was building up in the stadium,” Djokovic joked afterwards. “I needed to get that one out of the way so I could refocus on what I needed to do to close out the match. I played great from the first to the last point.”

An 11th title in Melbourne would take Djokovic clear of Margaret Court’s all-time record number of 24 Grand Slam wins. Djokovic had dropped sets in the first two rounds and said he was struggling with an illness but found form against Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the third round.

“The last couple of days have been really good,” Djokovic said. “It is going in a positive direction health-wise and tennis-wise so I am really pleased with where I am at the moment. All in all, a great performance.”

 

 

 

 

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