Novak Djokovic crushes Alex de Minaur to storm into Australian Open quarter-finals

Serbian star eases to straight-sets victory in Melbourne on Monday

Serbia's Novak Djokovic defeated Alex de Minaur of Australia in straight sets at the Australian Open on Monday, January 23, 2023. EPA
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Novak Djokovic defied a troublesome hamstring and partisan home crowd as he blew away local hope Alex de Minaur in straight sets on Monday to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Djokovic wasted little time as he stormed to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 win and set up a last-eight clash with Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic is in Australia one year after his dramatic deportation from the country for his stance against the Covid-19 vaccine. Chasing a record-extending 10th Australian Open crown and 22nd major title, the 35-year-old has, however, been struggling badly with a left hamstring injury ever since he arrived in Melbourne.

He had heavy strapping on his thigh and required medical treatment in his three-set third-round victory over Grigor Dimitrov.

But he was at his merciless best against De Minaur as the former world No1 took his opponent part at the Rod Laver Arena in their first ever encounter.

After the match, Djokovic said: "I really wanted to win in straight sets. Obviously, you never know what's going to happen once you're one the court, you've got to deal with a lot of things that are on and off the court.

"I thought the first four or five games were quite close but after the break of serve in the first set, I started feeling more loose, more free to go through the ball and be more aggressive.

"I kept my focus all the way through and played my best match this year so far."

Asked about his injury, Djokovic said: "I was feeling very good in the first match, second match not so great so I know this can change very quickly and I don't take anything for granted.

"But I'm really pleased with how I moved today, so let's keep it going."

Djokovic will face Rublev in the last eight after the fifth seed rallied from the brink to beat Holger Rune courtesy of a lucky net cord on match point that sealed a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (11-9) triumph.

Djokovic can also return to top of the world rankings if he wins the major.

Updated: January 23, 2023, 11:13 AM