(CTN News) – Novak Djokovic’s persistent pursuit of a record 25th Grand Slam championship continued on Sunday, as he defeated 20th seed Adrian Mannarino to advance to the Australian Open quarterfinals.
The Serbian dominated his French opponent on Rod Laver Arena, winning 6-0, 6-0, 6-3 and cementing his reputation as the hot favourite to win an 11th title at Melbourne Park.
“I really wanted to lose that game in the third set because the tension was building up so much in the stadium,” he said, referring to the chance of winning without losing a game.
“I just needed to get that out of the way and re-focus.”
The world number one has reached the final eight of a Grand Slam for the 58th time, matching Roger Federer’s men’s record as he retains his iron hold on the game.
He has now won 32 straight Australian Open matches, not losing since his setback to South Korea’s Chung Hyeon in 2018.
Novak Djokovic plays a qualifier, while Swiatek meets Kenin at the Australian Open.
The ten-time champion did not compete in 2022 due to a coronavirus vaccination.
Mannarino, whose first three matches all went to five sets, has seen a late-career renaissance, winning three titles last year in Newport, Astana, and Sofia.
But he was made to appear ordinary by the top seed, who never took his foot off the gas.
Novak Djokovic fended off two break points on his serve in the first game before breaking himself for a 2-0 advantage.
He replicated the feat twice in an entirely overpowering performance, played under the roof due to a shower, scoring 28 points to his opponent’s 12.
Mannarino was broken three times in the second set as Djokovic sought to win without losing a single point.
The Frenchman briefly halted Novak Djokovic’s assault, holding service three times in the third set, but this just delayed the inevitable as the top seed served it out.
Djokovic, 36, began his 2024 Australian Open campaign badly, battling a fever and dropping sets in his first two matches, but his performance has since improved.
The Serb, who is a year older than his opponent, stated that he played “great from the first point to the last”.
“The last couple of days have been really good,” he said. “It’s going in a positive direction.”
Novak Djokovic will face either seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or American 12th seed Taylor Fritz for a spot in the semi-finals.