At the Australian Open, Djokovic defeats De Minaur to raise a warning.
With little evidence of his troublesome hamstring, Novak Djokovic defeated Alex de Minaur in just five games to advance to the 13th Australian Open quarterfinal and issue a dire warning on Monday.
On Rod Laver Arena, the Serbian defeated the Australian 22nd seed 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 to move closer to a 10th Melbourne Park title and 22 major crown.
The 35-year-old was a man on a mission, tightly strapped to his left thigh once more, and he ran for two hours and six minutes to get within striking distance of Rafael Nadal’s slam record.
After the tense five-set match between the Russian and Danish teenager Holger Rune on the same court, he will play fifth seed Andrey Rublev for a spot in the semifinals.
Djokovic, who will become the world’s No. 1 player for the first time since June if he wins the tournament, stated, “I really wanted to win in straight sets.”
I thought the first four or five games were quite close, but after one break in the first set, I felt more loose and free to go through the ball and be more aggressive. Of course, you never know what will happen on the court.
“This was my best match so far this year,” I said.
With his victory, he advanced to the 13th Melbourne quarterfinal, putting him fourth on the all-time list, behind John Newcombe, Nadal, and Roger Federer.
His total of 54 Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances ranks second only to Federer’s 58.
De Minaur, who defeated Daniil Medvedev at the Paris Masters in November to earn his first victory over a player in the top five, was always going to face challenges.
Djokovic has now won 25 consecutive matches at the Australian Open and has not lost in Melbourne since 2018 (he did not play in 2022).
He always had the size of the young Australian, and in game six, he won to love and made it 5-2 without losing a point.
He sent a baseline forehand long as de Minaur was struggling under the pressure, giving the Serb another break and winning the set in just 35 minutes.
De Minaur hit only 54% of his first serves, whereas Djokovic hit 76%, winning 9-1 in favor of the dominant Serb.
De Minaur ended a nine-game losing streak in the sixth game of the second set, but it was only a brief respite.
At the changeover, Djokovic stretched his hamstring. He then put more pressure on De Minaur’s first service game and broke again in the third set, effectively ending the match.