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Australian Open 2023: Novak Djokovic beats Alex de Minaur

Novak Djokovic made light work of home hope Alex de Minaur as he continued his pursuit of a record-extending 10th men’s title at the Australian Open.

Serbia’s Djokovic, 35, still had his left thigh strapped but he looked in no trouble as he won 6-2 6-1 6-2.

The fourth seed will play Russian Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals.

Rublev, seeded fifth, saved two match points – and fought back from 5-0 down in a final-set tie-break – to beat Danish teenager Holger Rune.

Later on Monday, the 25-year-old discovered he would face Djokovic after the former world number one had too much quality for 22nd seed De Minaur.

On the prospect of facing Djokovic, Rublev joked: “No-one wants to face Novak, I want to be in the other half of the draw.”

Djokovic has been wearing strapping all tournament to protect a hamstring injury and asked for treatment in a medical timeout during his third-round win over Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.

But, despite the concerns of his fans, he moved freely in a confident win against De Minaur, which took two hours and six minutes.

“I kept my focus all the way through to play my best match of this year so far,” said Djokovic.

“Tonight it wasn’t obvious I was dealing with an injury. I didn’t feel anything today, today was great.”

De Minaur, who became the final Australian player to fall in the singles, was unable to cope with Djokovic’s quality and precision from the baseline.

Rublev should provide a sterner examination – of Djokovic’s fitness and his incredible record at Melbourne Park – when the pair meet on Wednesday.

Djokovic infamously did not play last year after a row about his vaccination status which led to court hearings and his eventual deportation.

On his return, he has continued from where he left off at what he calls his “second home”, extending his winning streak there to 26 matches.

As well as a 10th Australian Open, Djokovic is going for a record-equalling 22nd men’s Grand Slam title.

Source: Ghana News

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