Sun, 29 Jan 2023

Novak Djokovic into American-heavy Aussie Open quarters

Field Level Media
24 Jan 2023, 01:40 GMT+10

Novak Djokovic slammed his way into the Australian Open quarterfinals for the 13th time with a light workout against Alex de Minaur.

The 23-year-old Australian never forced a break point, but Djokovic broke serve six times to continue his march toward a 10th singles title in the Aussie Open.

Djokovic's left hamstring was not a topic of discussion for the first time in Melbourne, where the Serbian advanced to a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the 54th time.

"I didn't feel anything today," he said.

Djokovic labored in a 7-6 (7), 6-3, 6-4 victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday and needed every point to eliminate France's Enzo Couacaud, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0. Djokovic, 35, paused several times to stretch during the takedown of Couacaud in the second round.

Health was a non-factor Monday.

"A week ago I didn't really think about the title, I just thought about being in a good enough condition to play the next match," Djokovic said. "Tonight, the way I played, the way I felt, gives me reason now to believe that I can go all the way."

Djokovic takes on No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev (Russia) on Wednesday. Rublev battled back from down 5-2 in the fifth set to stun No. 9 Holger Rune 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9) at Rod Laver Arena.

Ben Shelton, the 20-year-old American, is in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, outlasting countryman J.J. Wolf in a 3 3/4-hour seesaw match. The southpaw Shelton won 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-2 and moved into the quarterfinals.

Shelton plays for his father, Bryan Shelton, at the University of Florida. Bryan Shelton is the head coach of the Gators' team and once ranked as high as No. 55 in singles on the ATP Tour.

"It's been a pretty special week for me," said Ben Shelton, who is overseas for the first time and said he's never used a passport.

"I got on the plane with no expectations. I know that it's very hard to adjust to Australia from the United States just with the jetlag, time change and everything. It being my first time, never being out of the United States, I knew it would be a struggle."

Another unseeded American, 35th-ranked Tommy Paul, awaits on Wednesday. Paul eliminated No. 24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 on Monday.

And 25 years after his father won the Australian Open, Sebastian Korda won his match on Sunday to give the U.S. three men in the quarterfinals at Melbourne for the first time since Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Chris Woodruff pulled off the feat in 2000.

--Field Level Media

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