Djokovic crushes Aussie De Minaur in straight games
Melbourne: Novak Djokovic made it a lucky 13 at the Australian Open after his most clinical display at Melbourne Park this year.
Unfortunately for the home supporters, Alex de Minaur felt the wrath of the nine-time champion.
Djokovic moved into a 13th Melbourne Park quarterfinal with a 6-2 6-1 6-2 win in just over two hours at Rod Laver Arena on Monday night.
De Minaur’s mentor, Lleyton Hewitt, did top Nadal at Melbourne Park in 2005. He looked on Monday from his charge’s box, along with another Australian great, Tony Roche.
The opening rally, 17 shots, suggested an extended contest was on the way. That would not be unusual for De Minaur, well known for his speed and ability to defend.
Perhaps wary of such a possibility, Djokovic – the taping to his left hamstring in place once again – slammed a serve on the next point. Indeed, lengthy exchanges became the anomaly, AO reported.
Djokovic pushed De Minaur in the fourth game, a sign of things to come. He broke for 4-2, part of a stretch where he tallied 10 straight points. He was barely conceding any points on serve, too.
Djokovic striking both forehands and backhands down the line proved a difference between the pair. And his glittering return is still there.
Djokovic fizzed a forehand return down the line to earn a breakpoint at 3-0 in the second, and put even more force behind another forehand return at 4-0 in the third.
Meanwhile, De Minaur never held a breakpoint. Djokovic said he didn’t feel the injury, but wasn’t about to over-celebrate.
Djokovic faces a familiar foe next in Andrey Rublev, who beat Holger Rune in five sets earlier on Monday.
He owns a 2-0 record against the fifth seed on hard courts, but succumbed to the Russian at home in Belgrade on clay last April. Rublev’s laser-like groundstrokes, when on, can trouble the best in the business. (UNI)