Tennis

Australian Open | Defending champion Djokovic, Raonic enter quarter-finals

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, Australian Open - Fourth Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 26, 2020

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, Australian Open - Fourth Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 26, 2020   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Djokovic negotiated a potentially tricky encounter with Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 6-4 to reach the last eight at Melbourne Park for the 11th time

Novak Djokovic continued his imperious progress through the Australian Open draw on Sunday, negotiating a potentially tricky encounter with Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 6-4 to reach the last eight at Melbourne Park for the 11th time.

The seven-time champion only added to a strong feeling around the tournament that the Serbian is again the man to beat at the year's first Grand Slam as he ousted the Argentine in just over two hours at Rod Laver Arena.

The defending champion broke for 5-3 and served out for the opening set before grabbing early breaks in the next two stanzas and successfully resisting Schwartzman's attempts to get back on terms.

The 32-year-old second seed wrapped up the contest by serving out to love and moves on to a quarter-final meeting with in-form Canadian Milos Raonic, who he has beaten in all nine of their previous meetings.

Raonic beats Cilic

Canada's Milos Raonic in action during his match against Croatia's Marin Cilic, Australian Open - Fourth Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 26, 2020

Canada's Milos Raonic in action during his match against Croatia's Marin Cilic, Australian Open - Fourth Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 26, 2020   | Photo Credit: Reuters

 

Raonic pounded down 35 aces and 55 winners to overcome Croatian Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3 7-5 on Sunday and become the first man to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The 29-year-old, a former world number three, is seeded a lowly 32nd at Melbourne Park but has been in impressive form over the first week and reached the last eight without losing a set.

Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, may have been feeling the effects of two five-set matches against seeded opponents earlier in the tournament and needed a lengthy medical timeout for treatment on his back at 3-0 down in the second set.

Also a former world number three, the 31-year-old still had enough game to test Raonic, especially when he was able to engage the Canadian in lengthier rallies.

Raonic was consistently sending down serves well in excess of 200 kilometres per hour (124 mph), however, and it was appropriate that he finished the match on Margaret Court Arena with one final booming ace.

“I'm just happy to be playing well, to be playing in this kind of atmosphere and this kind of support,” said Raonic, a semi-finalist in Melbourne in 2016.

“It feels pretty damn good I've gotta say, I can't complain about it. It's been an exciting tournament for me so far and hopefully there are exciting things ahead.”

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 9:52:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/australian-open-defending-champion-djokovic-raonic-enter-quarter-finals/article30657063.ece

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