Aus Open PIX: Djokovic storms into quarters; Rublev survives scare

Images from the men’s singles fourth round matches on Day 8 of the 2023 Australian Open in Melbourne on Monday.

Novak Djokovic steamrolled local hope Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 on Monday to ease into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a statement win in his quest for a 10th title at the Grand Slam that has only been threatened by a hamstring issue.

Djokovic drew first blood after a breathless start to the match when De Minaur crashed a forehand into the net to allow the fourth seed to go up 4-2 and the Serbian consolidated the break and struck again to claim the first set.

Having never lost at Melbourne Park since the fourth round in 2018 the 35-year-old was in no mood to give De Minaur a sniff of a chance on Rod Laver Arena, as he raced out of the blocks and dominated his opponent with blistering shots on both wings.

Up two sets to love and with his heavily-strapped hamstring cooperating after scares in the last two rounds, Djokovic moved in for the kill by taking the first four games of the third and finished in style to gear up for fifth seed Andrey Rublev next.

Rublev edges wunderkind Rune with lucky net cord

Andrey Rublev rallied back from the brink to dump Holger Rune out of the Australian Open and book a second quarter-final at Melbourne Park courtesy of a lucky net cord on match point that sealed a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (11-9) cliffhanger on Monday.

Fifth seed Rublev had to do it the hard way, having been 5-2 down in the final set at Rod Laver Arena and needing to save two match points to take contest into a 10-point tiebreak of unrelenting tension.

He slipped 5-0 behind in the breaker but roared back to lead 9-7 before ninth seed Rune saved two match points in a late twist.

It took the net cord to separate them, with Rublev’s final return clipping the net and popping over on the third match point, leaving the Dane no chance.

“(Tennis is) not a rollercoaster, it’s like they put a gun to your head,” Rublev said on court.

“I think a rollercoaster is a lot easier, man.”

“I never in my life was able to win matches like this, this was the first time in my life I was able to win a match like this.

Rublev will meet the winner of nine-times champion Novak Djokovic and home favourite Alex de Minaur, who play in the night session.

“No-one wants to face Novak, I’d rather be in any other part of the draw,” added Rublev wryly.

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