MELBOURNE/STARNBERG, February 14, 2021
Defending champion Novak Djokovic allayed his pre-match fears over an abdominal injury to maintain his perfect record against Milos Raonic and reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. The 33-year-old Serbian beat the Canadian for the 12th time in as many meetings between the two, winning 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-3 under the lights on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday evening.
Djokovic sent down 10 aces and won 78 per cent of his first-service points to seal victory in two hours and 56 minutes.
“I had no preparation for this match,” said Djokovic. “I used every hour I had to recover since the Taylor match. My physio and those of the ATP and Australian Open gave me their best support to get on the court. I have definitely been fitter in the past and I will continue to take each day one at a time.”
The World No. 1 became only the second man – after Roger Federer – to record 300 match wins at the four Grand Slam championships (300-45).
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 14, 2021
Djokovic will next take on last year’s semi-finalist and No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany, who struck 44 winners, including 15 aces, to dominate Dusan Lajovic of Serbia throughout his 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-3 victory on Margaret Court Arena earlier in the day.
“Today was a pretty good match, much colder than the other days,” said Zverev after his 50th Grand Slam match win. “I’m very happy with a win and it could have gone either way early on. It wasn’t easy.”
Djokovic has won his last four meetings with Zverev, who has lost just one set on his way to the last eight.
When asked about the match-up, the World No. 7 said: “You’ve got to play your best tennis, especially here. This is his favourite court, this is his favourite tournament. To be able to have a chance against him, you have to be playing extremely well. You have to be playing aggressive tennis, being the one that dominates. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I think it’s one of the toughest challenges in our sport.”