Tennis

Djokovic well on track for record seventh Australian Open title

World No. 1 survives testing clash; edges closer to seventh Australian Open title

Novak Djokovic dropped a set for the second match running, but survived a tough examination by 15th seed Daniil Medvedev yesterday to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The world No. 1 won 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-3 and will face Japan's Kei Nishikori for a place in the semi-finals.

Djokovic and Medvedev both needed attention from the trainer during a draining 3hr 15min match liberally sprinkled with punishing rallies of 30 shots or more, and one of 42 strokes.

"That was a physical battle," said a relieved Djokovic, who crucially saved three break-points from 2-1, 0-40 in the pivotal third set to break the tenacious 22-year-old's resolve.

"Daniil played some great tennis. He has a great backhand and doesn't make any unforced errors on that side. It was hard to find another way to get through him. In these kinds of matches, you just have to hang in there."

Djokovic stayed on course for a record seventh Australian Open title, but will next have to conquer marathon man Nishikori. The Japanese No. 1 endured a third five-setter in four matches to get past Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

"Since I guess my next opponent is watching, I'm feeling fantastic. I have never felt fresher in my life," Djokovic joked on court.

NEVER-SAY-DIE ATTITUDE

When told it was eighth seed Nishikori he, added: "Thanks for the great news. I was hoping you were going to say the other guy won but well done Kei, amazing.

"I look forward to it. He's one of the quickest players on tour."

It was Nishikori's never-say-die attitude that saw him through a draining 5hr 5min contest, in which the opening set alone lasted 76 minutes, and emerge victorious following the 6-7 (8/10), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-6 (10/8) win over CarrenoBusta.

The match ended on a sour note when Carreno Busta lost his head after a disputed call when leading the final tie-break 8-5. He failed to win another point and was booed from the Margaret Court Arena as he stormed off the court and angrily threw his kit bag towards the exit.

"I don't know what to say now. Very tough match. Very great match today," Nishikori said.

Earlier, big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic defeated German prospect Alexander Zverev in a surprisingly one-sided 6-1, 6-1, 7-6(7/5) fourth-round triumph. The 16th seeded Raonic will take on Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who rallied from a set down to overcome Borna Coric 6-7(4/7), 6-4, 7-5, 7-6(7/2). - AFP, REUTERS


Men's singles, quarter-finals

* All ties in Singapore time

Today, from 9.30am:

  • R. Bautista-Agut (x22) v S. Tsitsipas (x14)

From 4pm:

  • F. Tiafoe v R. Nadal (x2)

Women's singles, quarter-finals

Today, from 11.30am:

  • A. Pavlyuchenkova v D. Collins

From 4pm:

  • P. Kvitova (x8) v A. Barty (x15)
Tennis