Misc Tennis

Djokovic rolls to Aussie quarters, matches Federer’s Slam record

Djokovic rolls to Aussie quarters, matches Federer's Slam record

Novak Djokovic was ruthless in a 6-0, 6-0, 6-3 win over Adrian Mannarino on Sunday, reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals and matching Roger Federer‘s all-time Grand Slam record.

In a rare daytime appearance at Rod Laver Arena, the 10-time Australian Open champion hit 31 winners and raced to victory in 1 hour, 44 minutes to progress to the last eight for the 58th time at a major, equaling Federer’s mark. His 93rd match win at the Australian Open also broke a tie with Serena Williams for second among players in the Open era (Federer, 102).

Djokovic is into the Australian Open quarterfinals for the 14th time, which ranks second on the all-time list with Rafael Nadal and John Newcombe. The difference is that Djokovic has converted most of those quarterfinal runs into titles at Melbourne Park.

He will next face American player Taylor Fritz, who on Sunday reached the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time with a 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, the runner-up here last year.

Djokovic, 36, who labored in his first two rounds, believes he is starting to hit his stride.

“The first two sets were some of the best sets I’ve played in a while,” said Djokovic, who is bidding for a record-extending 25th Grand Slam singles title. “I played great from the first to the last point.”

The Serbian player added, in jest: “I really wanted to lose that game in the third set because the tension was building in the stadium.”

The 35-year-old Mannarino avoided a so-called triple-bagel — only five Grand Slam matches in the Open era have been won 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 — but he was only postponing the inevitable.

Djokovic has admitted to feeling unwell in recent rounds but said his health is improving.

“Last couple of days has been really good,” he said. “It’s going in a positive direction, health-wise, tennis-wise.”

Fritz is 0-8 against Djokovic but said, “I think that I have a lot more level to bring than I’ve previously brought against him. Hopefully I can play another match like today.”

The win over Tsitsipas was his first against a top-10 player in a major.

“I think I served well, the whole match, it kept me in it,” he said. “And then at the very end when I really needed it, I feel like I just, I turned it up a level and started playing my absolute best tennis to finish it.”

Also Sunday, fourth-seeded Jannik Sinner, who had two wins over Djokovic in November, advanced 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 over No. 15 Karen…

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