Melbourne | Djokovic, Fritz, Sinner and Rublev make last eight

The final runners for this year’s Australian Open title are lining up with the top half of the draw reaching the quarter final stage in Melbourne.

I played great - from the first to the last point Novak Djokovic

he four currently ahead in the running – the last four matches of the round of 16 will be played tomorrow Monday – are Novak Djokovic, Taylor Fritz, Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev.

Not on the list is last year’s runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas who was beaten by American Fritz 7-6(3) 5-7 6-3 6-3 in a three hour battle and he will now face Djokovic, the world No.1 who in turn virtually obliterated in 104-minutes, Frenchman Adran Mannarino, 6-0 6-0 6-3.

For Fritz this will be the first time he has appeared in the last eight at the Australian Open and he is full of confidence despite the fact that he has never beaten his next opponent on 8 previous occasions. And with Djokovic now on a roll following his demolition of Mannarino, Fritz will certainly need his best A game!

Taylor Fritz makes the last eight in Australia for the first time

(Photo by Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Reflecting on his win over the Greek, Fritz, who struck 50 winners and made just 19 unforced errors, said: “I trusted my shots a lot. I served well the whole match.

“It kept me in it as there were some games he was in, that I could get out of with my serve. At the end when I really needed it, I turned it up a level and played some of my best tennis to finish it.”

For Tsitsipas the loss was a disappointment,

“It’s painful, and the moments of glory are not that many,” he said in his post-match press.

“There’s just way more moments in your career that are painful and tough to deal with, suffering and all that stuff, than moments of glory and success and opening champagne bottles. These are a very small percentage of what a tennis player lives on a yearly basis.”

In comparison the Djokovic victory was a stroll in the park. There were no signs of any of the ‘frailty’ he showed in his early matches and following his latest outing, he has virtually cemented his position as title favourite which of course would extend his grand slam tally of titles to a record 25.

Despite Mannarino being no slouch and experienced, he was completely overwhelmed by the Serb who romped away with the first 13 games before he was able to make an impression on the score board.

“The first two sets [were] one of the best sets I’ve played in a while,” a very satisfied Djokovic said.

“I played great – from the first to the last point.”

The score line doesn’t reflect the fact that Mannarino had chances and played some good tennis, but Djokovic always had an answer to reach his 58th grand slam quarter final.

”It is never easy to play Adrian,” said Djokovic on court after the match. “He is a very unorthodox player; he uses the angles really well and has got one of the flattest and most consistent backhands in the game.

“It’s kind of a cat and mouse tennis match against him. So I had to physically endure the long rallies and try to run him around the court, which I did and I think I served very well.

“In the moments when I needed to come up with the first serve I did, so, all-in-all, a great performance.”

Jannik Sinner eased through to reach the quarter final

(Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Meanwhile the world No.4 Jannik Sinner had a comfortable 6-4 7-5 6-3 victory over Russia’s Karen Khachanov who was able to test the Italian who was making the last eight for a second time.

“Obviously, it is very tough to play against him,” said Sinner who had hit 46 winners to his opponents 27 and faced 10 break points two-hour, 24-minute contest.

“We have very similar styles – everything is very flat. It is kind of like ping pong – ping, ping, ping.”

Next up for Sinner is another Russian, the fifth seeded Andrey Rublev who brought to an end the host’s hopes of a first home grown champion since 1977.

But he was made to work by Alex de Minaur before the Aussie finally succumbed, no doubt exhausted after their four, 14-minute battle.

Rublev eventually overcame his opponent 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0 on the Rod Laver Arena which De Minaur was playing for the first time this year.

The pair had met on five previous occasions and at the start of their sixth meeting, De Minaur was leading him 3-2.

The match itself was the first all top-10 match-up of the men’s draw and it delivered the expected fireworks as it seesawed back and forth.

De Minaur had one foot in the quarter finals as he won consecutive tie-breaks to go 2-1 up but the Russian kept the pressure on the Aussie who was starting to flag.

The Russian held his nerve to win the fourth and then dominating the fifth – securing an improbable bagel – to secure his passage to the next round.

“First of all I want to say, great match to Alex,” Rublev said following his win.

“Two days ago I said I hope we’re going to show a great match and the spectators will enjoy it. Then I regret[ted] it as I didn’t expect it to be that enjoyable. And I said to myself, no, you are not going to die today, you will do everything. And then somehow I started to play better and better and find more energy and find a way to win.”

Tomorrows matches hopefully, will provide the same level of excitement.

Andrey Rublev celebrates winning a tough five-setter

Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)



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