Djokovic wins in five, despite 100 unforced errors
World No. 1 Djokovic chalks up century of errors but pulls off five-set triumph
Novak Djokovic called his win over Gilles Simon a "match to forget" after he clocked up an embarrassing 100 unforced errors before scraping into his 27th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open yesterday.
The 10-time major champion battled for four hours and 32 minutes before prevailing 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 and will now face Japan's Kei Nishikori in the last eight.
It was a gruelling win for the world No. 1, whose tennis was uncharacteristically ragged before he finally subdued the dogged French 14th seed in the Rod Laver Arena thriller.
"Actually, it gives me great joy to know that I can't get worse than that, than what I played today," he smiled.
"I was obviously pleased to win the match, but in terms of the performance itself, I haven't done well at all.
"Gilles Simon is one of the best counter-punchers on the tour and he likes to play long matches.
"I knew what to expect on the court. But I honestly didn't expect to make this many unforced errors. It's a match to forget for me."
An astonishing 100 unforced errors, split between his forehand and backhand, prompted the Serb to say: "I don't think I've had any close number to a hundred. But again there is a first time for everything."
Djokovic also blamed a "brain freeze" for continually trying to make drop shots, which either found the net or were run down by the athletic Simon.
"Sometimes you have a brain freeze, if I can call it that way. That's what happened to me many times with those drop shots," he said.
Nishikori will not be as forgiving in the quarter-finals, after he showed his aggressive best when he disarmed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to sweep into the last eight of the Australian Open for the third time.
Nishikori was thrashed by Djokovic 6-1, 6-1 indooors at the ATP World Tour finals in November, but the world No. 7 has beaten the Serb twice in their previous seven meetings.
Looking ahead to the match, Djokovic dismissed any concerns about his physical condition after yesterday's marathon.
"I've been in these situations before. The good thing about Grand Slams is that you have a day off in between, which gives you enough time," he said.
"I've had worse situations where I had much less time to recover after long matches. So I'm sure I'll be fine."
In making the quarter-finals for the 27th straight Grand Slam, Djokovic equalled Jimmy Connors in second place for the most consecutive last-eight appearances at the majors.
It will be the Serb's 35th overall Grand Slam quarter-final appearance, and he has reached the last eight in Melbourne for a ninth consecutive year. - AFP.
Men's singles 4th rd
- Tomas Berdych (CZE) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3