Defending champion Djokovic into quarter-finals at Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his match against Diego Schwartzman at 2020 Australian Open

Novak Djokovic continued his progress through the Australian Open draw on Sunday, winning a potentially tricky encounter with Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 6-4, to reach the last eight at Melbourne Park for the 11th time.

The seven-time champion seems to be the man to beat at the year’s first Grand Slam, as he ousted Schwartzman in just over two hours at the Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic broke for 5-3 and served out for the opening set before grabbing early breaks in the next two stanzas, and successfully resisting Schwartzman’s attempts to get back on terms.

The 32-year-old second seed wrapped up the contest by serving out to love, and was delighted to have successfully executed his gameplan.

“It feels great, it was a very solid performance,” Djokovic said.

Novak Djokovic strikes the tennis ball against Diego Schwartzman at Australian Open

“Today was a good test because Diego was in form, he hasn’t dropped a set in three rounds. Obviously he can be a very dangerous opponent from the baseline if you give him time. I knew that.”

“I stepped out on the court with a clear game plan what I need to do. I think I kept things pretty much in control in all three sets. Maybe could have finished the match a bit earlier,” Djokovic added.

Djokovic negated Schwartzman’s threat by using his slice to bring the quick 14th seed off the baseline and, saving two of the three break points he faced, always looked like he had another gear he could shift up to.

The match was played in a good spirit with Djokovic reaching over the net for a high five when Schwartzman produced a magnificent drop shot to win a point.

Djokovic moves on to a quarter-final meeting with Canadian Milos Raonic, who he has beaten in all nine of their previous meetings — including at the same stage of the 2015 tournament.

“This will be a different match-up to the one today,” said the 16-time Grand Slam champion.

“Raonic is one of tallest and strongest players. He’s also got one of biggest serves. I’m ready for missiles.”

“One of key elements will be how well I’m returning. It’s good to see Milos healthy. He’s a great guy and good friend.”

 

Chidi Nwoke.