Tennys Sandgren will play Roger Federer in the Australian Open quarter-finals after beating Fabio Fognini in a tense affair on Sunday.

The American triumphed in four sets - three of which went to tie-breaks - to knock out the 12th seed and book a meeting with Federer, who dispatched Marton Fucsovics after a nervy start.

There were few signs of the jitters for Novak Djokovic against Diego Schwartzman, while Milos Raonic's relentless serving strength saw him power past 2018 finalist Marin Cilic.

Canadian Raonic said he felt "pretty damn good" after a straight-sets win that included 35 aces, although he admitted he will need even more to beat defending champion Djokovic next.

 

SANDGREN FIGHTS THROUGH FOGNINI FRUSTRATION

Sandgren traded winners and barbs with Fabio Fognini before prevailing 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 to seal his second Australian open quarter-final berth.

Tempers frayed across four entertaining sets on Melbourne Arena, with the American becoming upset at his opponent's stalling tactics.

Fognini, the 12th seed, argued with the umpire, took a lengthy bathroom break and asked for a medical timeout to treat blisters all before the third set, leading Sandgren frustrated.

"He gets his own rules because you're afraid to step on his toes," the world number 100 told the umpire after taking the opener.

Sandgren, who lost to Chung Hyeon in the last eight two years ago, regained his composure and went on to complete the upset in three hours and 27 minutes.

FEDERER FINDS FORM AFTER EARLY WOBBLE

Federer seemed to be feeling the effects of his epic five-set victory over John Millman as Fucsovics took an early lead on Rod Laver Arena.

However, the 38-year-old recovered in supreme style and seemed somewhere close to his best tennis at the end of a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 victory.

As the full repertoire of shots from Federer began to paint the lines, Fucsovics had little response.

The 20-time major champion is now looking forward to a first meeting with Sandgren. "I have played a lot of tennis in my life, but never against Tennys," he said.

DJOKOVIC POWERS PAST SCHWARTZMAN

Djokovic produced another dominant display to dismantle Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena, where the world number two kept his title hopes alive.

While Schwartzman fought hard, it was another routine outing for Djokovic - who reached his 11th Australian Open quarter-final.

Djokovic was broken for the first time since the opening round but was never really in danger, hitting 38 winners and 31 unforced errors.

"Today was a good test because Diego was in form, he hasn't dropped a set in three rounds," the Serbian said afterwards.

"Obviously he can be a very dangerous opponent from the baseline if you give him time. I knew that. I stepped out on the court with a clear game plan what I need to do."

RAONIC TAKES DOWN CILIC

It rained aces as 32nd seed and former world number three Raonic beat former runner-up Cilic 6-4 6-3 7-5.

Raonic progressed to his fifth quarter-final in Melbourne after firing down 35 aces and winning all of his service games in two hours and 19 minutes.

His reward? A showdown with Serbian superstar Djokovic, who boasts a dominant 9-0 head-to-head record.

"I'm going to have to serve well clearly, and then I think I'm going to have to get my return at a high percentage, make him play a lot of those points, and then try to be efficient on my service games," Raonic said in his news conference.

"I think we play quite opposite from each other, and he's done a good job in the past neutralising my serve. So I have really got to focus on my things well and be the one dictating."

Novak Djokovic said he is growing in confidence after the Australian Open champion dominated en route to the quarter-finals on Sunday.

Djokovic is bidding to win a record-extending eighth Norman Brooks Challenge Cup in Melbourne and the 16-time grand slam champion remains on track to add to his collection following a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over 14th seed Diego Schwartzman.

It was Djokovic's third consecutive straight-sets win at Melbourne Park, where the Serbian second seed reached his 11th Australian Open quarter-final.

After hitting 38 winners in just over two hours on Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic told reporters:  "It feels great. I had a fantastic couple of matches in a row, centre court, last two rounds. I felt more confident going through the ball, hitting serves really well.

"Today was a good test because Diego was in form, he hasn't dropped a set in three rounds. Obviously he can be a very dangerous opponent from the baseline if you give him time. I knew that. I stepped out on the court with a clear game plan what I need to do. 

"I think I kept things pretty much in control in all three sets. Maybe could have finished the match a bit earlier. But it was a very solid performance."

Next up for Djokovic is 32nd seed and former world number three Milos Raonic, who beat Marin Cilic in three sets on Sunday.

Djokovic has dominated Raonic, boasting a flawless 9-0 head-to-head record, which includes a quarter-final victory at the 2015 Australian Open.

Asked to compare Raonic with fellow big servers John Isner and Karlovic, Djokovic replied: "I feel like Raonic moves better than Isner and Karlovic. I mean, he's not as tall as these two guys. They're 6'10" or something, two metres 10. They're the tallest players to ever play tennis.

"Obviously it's a huge advantage when you hit serves from that height. You can hit any angle, anything you really want. That puts a lot of pressure on your opponent. But that also has some disadvantages in terms of movement. If the returner gets the ball back in play, then I think Raonic is better than these two guys. 

"But I feel like maybe you could read his serve better than Isner and Karlovic. I don't want to say it's slightly slower, but just a little bit of a different toss, different technique. You can probably get some looks at second serves or breakpoints and stuff like this maybe a bit more than the other two guys. It's such a minor difference that you don't really notice it so much. But on the court it makes a big difference."

Australian Open champion and second seed Novak Djokovic reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the 11th time after seeing off Diego Schwartzman in straight sets.

Djokovic - eyeing a record-extending eighth Australian Open title - powered through to his 46th grand slam quarter-final courtesy of Sunday's 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory.

The 16-time slam champion produced another dominant performance in just over two hours on Rod Laver Arena, setting up a meeting with 32nd seed Milos Raonic - a rematch of the 2015 last-eight meeting at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic - boasting a 3-0 head-to-head record against Schwartzman - barely raised a sweat in the second and third rounds, cruising past Japanese opponents Tatsuma Ito and Yoshihito Nishioka.

It was a sterner test against 14th seed Schwartzman, who made Djokovic earn his points in a contest showcasing powerful baseline rallies.

The set was on serve until Schwartzman double-faulted in the eighth game to open the door for Djokovic and the Serb star fired an inch-perfect winner down the line to bring up the first break point. He converted to snap Schwartzman's stubborn resistance for a 5-3 lead.

Djokovic muttered to himself in frustration and then double-faulted in a tense ninth game but he left the scrambling Schwartzman on the floor as he closed it out after 38 minutes.

Cracks started to appear in Schwartzman's performance as Djokovic broke to start the second set and again in the third game - the Argentinian fading until he claimed one of the breaks back in the fourth.

It was the first time Djokovic had been broken since his opening-round win over Jan-Lennard Struff, having saved one break point against Nishioka after not facing one on court with Ito.

Schwartzman battled but Djokovic was not to be denied a two-sets-to-love lead, a position he had never lost from at the Australian Open with a 55-0 record prior to Sunday, and the latter preserved that perfect record after breaking in the fifth game of the final set and never looking back.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 
Novak Djokovic [2] bt Diego Schwartzman [14] 6-3 6-4 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 
Djokovic – 38/31
Schwartzman – 17/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 
Djokovic – 8/1
Schwartzman – 1/4

BREAK POINTS WON 
Djokovic – 4/8
Schwartzman – 1/3

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 
Djokovic – 64
Schwartzman – 56

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 
Djokovic – 75/68
Schwartzman – 62/49

TOTAL POINTS 
Djokovic – 101
Schwartzman – 74

Novak Djokovic has barely raised a sweat as his quest for a record-extending eighth Australian Open crown continues against Diego Schwartzman in the Australian Open last 16 on Sunday.

After dropping a set in the first round and winning for the first time at the Australian Open, Djokovic has looked untouchable against back-to-back Japanese opponents.

The reigning champion and 16-time grand slam winner is in ominous form with an 11th quarter-final appearance in 13 years on the horizon.

We take a closer look at Djokovic's form as he prepares to face Schwartzman in Melbourne.

Form and results

Aside from a wobble against Jan-Lennard Struff in the opening round, it has been smooth sailing for Djokovic. The second seed's serve has stood out en route to the fourth round. After winning 93 per cent of his first serves in round two, Djokovic posted an identical figure in a straightforward victory over Yoshihito Nishioka on Friday. Only Milos Raonic (90 per cent) has won more first serves than Djokovic (87) through three rounds.

R1: bt Struff 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1
R2: bt Ito 6-1 6-4 6-2
R3: bt Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2

Next up

Diminutive Argentine 14th seed Schwartzman stands in the way of Djokovic and the last eight at Melbourne Park. Schwartzman prevented an all-Serbian clash after easing past 24th seed Dusan Lajovic in straight sets. Djokovic boasts a 3-0 head-to-head record against Schwartzman, winning the most recent encounter in the Internazionali d'Italia semi-finals last year. Two of the matches have been on clay, with their first meeting at the 2014 US Open.

Draw

The Australian Open is heating up. Should Djokovic get past Schwartzman for the fourth consecutive time, 32nd seed Milos Raonic or 2018 runner-up Marin Cilic await. Looking one step further and a semi-final showdown against 20-time slam champion and rival Roger Federer could be next.

What he said

"I'm very pleased to be plant-based and play on this level now for four and a half years. There has been a lot of criticism also. People around me didn't really think that I could do that. There is a lot of doubt and a lot of question marks. Hopefully I can inspire other athletes that it is possible to be plant-based and to recover well, to have strength, to have muscles. I'm not a weightlifter, of course, but I do have an optimal balance between the strength and power and speed."

Stefanos Tsitsipas suffered a surprise Australian Open exit at the hands of Milos Raonic in the third round on Friday.

The Greek was beaten in straight sets and managed not a single break point against the relentless power and precision of the Raonic serve.

Roger Federer ensured his 100th match win at Melbourne Park was among his most memorable as he survived a gruelling five-set encounter with John Millman.

The six-time champion remains on course for a semi-final against Novak Djokovic, who was ruthless in seeing off the challenge of Yoshihito Nishioka.

Roberto Bautista Agut was edged out by Marin Cilic, and there were also wins for Diego Schwartzman, Marton Fucsovics, Tennys Sandgren and Fabio Fognini.

 

RAONIC LEAVES TSITSIPAS REELING AS DJOKOVIC MARCHES ON

There was a shock for sixth seed Tsitsipas, who simply had no answer to the serve and forehand of Raonic in a 7-5 6-4 7-6 (7-2) defeat.

The 21-year-old struggled to make any inroads against the Raonic attack and was unable to muster even a solitary chance of a break against a player yet to drop serve in this year's tournament.

"It's one shot that you can get knocked down all the time, and you're just there, getting punched in the face with one shot. You can't do much," Tsitsipas said of facing the Canadian.

"I'm not saying it's luck. It's a skill. I felt a bit stupid returning his serves."

Defending champion Djokovic was in imperious form, dispatching Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2 to keep his quest for an eighth title on track.

Djokovic described the victory as "one of the best serving matches I've had lately" and credited coach Goran Ivanisevic after firing in 17 aces and dropping just eight points on serve to reach the second week in Melbourne for the 12th time.

The Serbian now faces Schwartzman, who saw off Dusan Lajovic 6-2 6-3 7-6 (9-7).

TON UP FOR FEDERER AFTER TIE-BREAK TURNAROUND

Federer's 100th win at the Australian Open was secured at 0048 local time after a marathon encounter with Millman.

The 38-year-old triumphed 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) after four hours and three minutes of brutal tennis against the Australian, who beat him at the US Open two years ago.

Federer fought back from a set down to lead but, after Millman forced a decider, momentum seemed to have swung his way in front of a crowd for once not overwhelmingly backing the Swiss great.

Millman led 3-0 and 8-4 in the final-set tie-break, but Federer rallied from the brink to earn the first match point and promptly took advantage when a Millman volley offered him a routine passing shot.

"Oh God, it was tough," Federer told Jim Courier on court after the match. "Thank God it was a match tie-break, otherwise I would have lost this one."

Federer will face Fucsovics in round four, the Hungarian having beaten Tommy Paul 6-1 6-1 6-4 in a one-sided match-up.

CILIC OUTLASTS BAUTISTA AGUT AS SANDGREN QUELLS QUERRY

Cilic, the beaten finalist in 2018, claimed a memorable 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-0 5-7 6-3 victory over ninth seed Bautista Agut to set up a fourth-round showdown with fellow serving heavyweight Raonic.

An all-American clash went the way of Sandgren, meanwhile, as he beat Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 6-4.

Sandgren meets Fognini in round four, the Italian making relatively light work of Guido Pella in a 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-3 victory.

Novak Djokovic believes his serve is at its best and will set him up heading into the second week at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was dominant in a third-round win over Yoshihito Nishioka on Rod Laver Arena on Friday, cruising to a 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory.

The world number two lost just eight points on serve in a comprehensive win and the 16-time grand slam winner feels that part of his game will hold him in good stead.

"You can always improve. I think that's the beauty of the sport. I think in terms of service rhythm that I have at the moment, winning percentage from the first serves is really high," Djokovic told a news conference.

"That's probably as best as my serve can actually be in the moment, which I'm very pleased with. It allows me to go quicker through my games and win more dominantly my service games and put additional pressure on the service games of my opponents.

"That's definitely something that's useful going towards the second week of the grand slam."

Djokovic also mixed 40 winners with 23 unforced errors against Nishioka, setting up a fourth-round clash with Diego Schwartzman.

A seven-time champion in Melbourne, Djokovic said he was satisfied with where his game at.

"From back of the court, I have been playing pretty well, both forehand, backhand side. Very solid backhand, forehand today a lot of winners, not too many unforced errors," he said.

"That's kind of a game style that I would like to maintain and kind of nurture for the second week.

"Obviously I ended up this tournament last year with two fantastic performances against [Lucas] Pouille in the semis and Rafa [Nadal] in the finals. Those were some of the best performances I had ever in the grand slam semis and finals.

"I love playing on the court. I like the conditions. I'm starting to feel very, very comfortable and compact on the court. I'm going to try to keep that going."

Novak Djokovic brushed past Yoshihito Nishioka to reach the Australian Open fourth round on Friday.

The Serbian superstar produced a brilliant performance to crush Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic, a 16-time grand slam champion, incredibly lost just eight points on serve during his victory, which came after 85 minutes.

A record seven-time winner in Melbourne, Djokovic set up a clash with Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round.

Djokovic – who thrashed Nishioka at last year's Davis Cup Finals – made a fast start, racing into a 3-0 lead that would prove decisive in the first set.

Nishioka sent a backhand long to fall behind immediately in the second set and Djokovic was in complete command throughout, particularly on serve.

Djokovic incredibly lost just one point on serve through the opening two sets, left untroubled by Nishioka.

He broke to love to begin the third set and opened up a 4-0 lead on his way to a convincing win.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 
Novak Djokovic [2] bt Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 
Djokovic – 40/23
Nishioka – 15/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 
Djokovic – 17/2
Nishioka – 1/4

BREAK POINTS WON 
Djokovic – 5/6
Nishioka – 0/1

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 
Djokovic – 74
Nishioka – 58

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 
Djokovic – 93/69
Nishioka – 67/39

TOTAL POINTS 
Djokovic – 87
Nishioka – 49

Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal paid tribute to Caroline Wozniacki after the former world number one was sent into retirement at the Australian Open.

Wozniacki's career came to an end following the Danish 29-year-old's 7-5 3-6 7-5 third-round loss to Ons Jabeur in Melbourne on Friday.

The 2018 Australian Open champion, Wozniacki announced last month that she planned to call it quits at the conclusion of the year's opening grand slam.

Afterwards, superstar ATP trio Federer, Djokovic and Nadal featured in a video message via the WTA.

"Hey Caroline, many congratulations on a most amazing career," 20-time slam winner Federer said in the video shared on Twitter. "I was so happy for you when you won the Australian Open and also world number one, that's the pinnacle of our sport and you did it all.

"I always enjoyed watching you play. You had a lot of battles. I was waiting sometimes to play and you were playing ahead of me, and your matches took forever. But that's okay, I loved watching you play.

"We'll miss you, the WTA will miss you and the ATP will miss you. I wish you all the very best for what's to come. Thank you for everything you've done for tennis."

Reigning Australian Open champion Djokovic said: "Caro, I don't know how to say goodbye to you. I know the moment is coming closer and closer for you. We've known each other for a long time. We lived in the same place for many years, so I've seen you jog on the street and walk your dogs. We developed a nice friendly relationship as well.

"You're a fantastic person. You've done so much for tennis. Your contribution is very positive to the game and the game will definitely miss you.

"I wish you and your husband David a wonderful life together. Hopefully kids on the way as well. Hope to see you. Come and watch us play and have fun."

"Hey Caroline. Well, just very sad to make this video because everybody wants to watch you play tennis," added world number one and top seed Nadal.

"You had an amazing career. I just want to congratulate you on all the things you achieved and at the same time to be nice to everyone.

"It's been great to share many great moments with you. I wish you all the very best in your personal life, happiness and health. Hope we keep seeing you around."

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is clicking into gear ahead of Friday's third-round clash with Yoshihito Nishioka in Melbourne.

Djokovic has only dropped one set en route to round three at Melbourne Park, where a record-extending eighth title is up for grabs.

The second seed has already reached a milestone at the year's first grand slam, celebrating his 900th ATP singles match victory.

We take a closer look at Djokovic's form as he eyes another trip to the fourth round at the Australian Open.

Form and results

It was a relentless performance from Djokovic in the second round on Wednesday. After dropping a set and winning in the Australian Open first round for the first time in his career by overcoming tenacious German Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday, Djokovic was a class above midweek. The Serb star won 93 per cent of his first serves in a demolition of Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito.

R1: bt Struff 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1
R2: bt Ito 6-1 6-4 6-2

Next up

Another game, another Japanese opponent for Djokovic. World number 71 Nishioka earned a showdown with the defending champion courtesy of his surprise win again Dan Evans on Wednesday. Djokovic and Nishioka have met once previously via last year's Davis Cup Finals, where the former cruised 6-1 6-2 for Serbia.

Draw

It could be an all-Serbian affair in the fourth round. If Djokovic, as expected, sees off Nishioka, either countryman Dusan Lajovic or Argentina's Diego Schwartzman await. Looking further ahead and last year's semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas - the sixth seed - could be a quarter-final opponent.

What he said

"I do have to keep going. I feel comfortable and confident playing in Australia. History of my results here have been very positive."

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were untroubled, but Grigor Dimitrov was among five seeds to fall at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Federer produced an excellent performance in a straight-sets thrashing of Filip Krajinovic on Rod Laver Arena.

The Swiss great had received good news before even going on court after three seeds fell in his quarter of the draw, with Fabio Fognini only narrowly avoiding that fate.

Earlier, Djokovic dropped just seven games on his way to a thrashing of Tatsuma Ito in Melbourne.

 

FEDERER, DJOKOVIC EASE THROUGH

Having lost a set in the opening-round victory over Jan-Lennard Struff, Djokovic suffered no such setback against Ito, winning 6-1 6-4 6-2.

A record seven-time champion in Melbourne and 16-time grand slam winner, Djokovic brushed past Ito on the back of 31 winners.

Federer was even more impressive later in the day, crushing Djokovic's Serbian compatriot Krajinovic 6-1 6-4 6-1.

The 20-time grand slam champion looked in fabulous form with 42 winners and just 14 unforced errors, reaching the third round in Melbourne for the 21st straight year.

Federer will next face John Millman, who upset 31st seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 7-5 6-3. The Australian stunned Federer at the US Open in 2018.

 

DIMITROV AMONG SEEDS TO CRASH OUT

Dimitrov, a semi-finalist in 2017, bowed out in a surprise 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (10-3) loss to Tommy Paul.

The Bulgarian 18th seed went up by a break twice in the final set, but lost seven consecutive points from 3-3 in the match tie-break.

Matteo Berrettini, the eighth seed who reached the US Open semi-finals, was edged out by Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 4-6 2-6 7-5.

Sandgren reached the quarter-finals in 2018 and will face Sam Querrey in an all-American third-round clash.

British 30th seed Dan Evans also made a second-round exit, losing to Djokovic's next opponent, Yoshihito Nishioka, 6-4 6-3 6-4.

 

CILIC, RAONIC ADVANCE AS TSITSIPAS GETS FREE PASS

Marin Cilic, runner-up in 2018, eliminated 21st seed Benoit Paire in a thriller.

The Croatian needed three hours, 33 minutes to overcome Paire 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 6-1 7-6 (10-3).

Next up for Cilic is a man he has lost to twice at the Australian Open in Roberto Bautista Agut, the Spanish ninth seed too good for Michael Mmoh 5-7 6-2 6-4 6-1.

Milos Raonic has reached at least the Australian Open quarter-finals four times and the Canadian has shown impressive form early on this year.

The 29-year-old served 19 aces in a 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Cristian Garin on Wednesday and next faces 2019 semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas advanced without hitting a ball after Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to a muscle strain.

 

FOGNINI TAKEN THE DISTANCE BY THOMPSON

It is proving to be an arduous campaign for Fognini, who surrendered a two-set lead before holding his nerve in a decisive tie-break with home hope Jordan Thompson.

The Italian was taken the distance in his first-round meeting with Reilly Opelka after losing the first two sets, and this time it was the 12th seed who almost choked on a healthy lead.

Fognini hurt himself when punching his racket in frustration and was called for a foot-fault in the fifth-set breaker, but he got the job done in a memorable 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 3-6 4-6 7-6 (10-4) triumph that took more than four hours to complete. 

Novak Djokovic revealed he offered Filip Krajinovic some advice ahead of his Serbian countryman's Australian Open clash with Roger Federer.

Federer and Krajinovic will do battle on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, while Djokovic eased into the third round earlier in the day.

Djokovic said he had spoken to Krajinovic, 27, ahead of the second-round clash with the Swiss great.

"We spoke last night. I thought he fought well to win his opening-round match. He was very close to losing that match. He won in five sets. That was great for his confidence," he told a news conference after beating Tatsuma Ito 6-1 6-4 6-2.

"Obviously today is a completely different match-up against Roger. We did speak a little bit about things that he can do to be, I guess, his best self on the court. Again, it doesn't depend only on him.

"It depends how well Roger starts and how well Roger plays. It can be a very interesting match-up. I think Krajinovic is a very talented player and has been around the Tour for a while, knows Roger's game.

"It just depends on how it starts. It can be a long one. It can be a short one. It's going to be interesting to see."

Djokovic continued his fine start to 2020, winning an eighth straight singles match and setting up a clash with Yoshihito Nishioka.

The 16-time grand slam champion was particularly pleased with his serve after sending down 16 aces and not facing a break point against Ito.

"My serve was working extremely well in first round and second round. That's something I worked on in the off-season," Djokovic said.

"That's one of the priorities I guess of the training sessions, trying to get that I think advantage of winning a lot of easy points on the first serve.

"It has been paying off so far I think in the ATP Cup and here with the two matches."

Novak Djokovic had no trouble moving through to the third round of the Australian Open, outclassing wildcard Tatsuma Ito 6-1 6-4 6-2 as his title defence gathered momentum. 

Djokovic was hoping history did not repeat itself on Wednesday, having lost to a wildcard - Denis Istomin - in the second round at Melbourne Park three years ago.

But Djokovic was never threatened as the 16-time grand slam champion swept aside Ito in straight sets on Rod Laver Arena midweek.

In warm but breezy conditions, Djokovic barely raised a sweat as the second seed asserted his authority from the outset against the Japanese underdog.

Djokovic, eyeing his record-extending eighth Australian Open crown, picked his shots with comfort from the baseline, hitting seven winners in a lopsided 22-minute first set.

After racing through the opener, Djokovic - who dropped a set and won in the Australian Open first round for the first time in his career by getting past Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday - faced a sterner test in the second.

Having only won 50 per cent of his first serves in the opening set, Ito improved by winning 20 of 28, though he was broken in the ninth game and it proved decisive for Djokovic.

The third set was similar to the first as Djokovic dismantled Ito with a relentless display to earn another Japanese date - this time against Yoshihito Nishioka.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Novak Djokovic [2] bt Tatsuma Ito 6-1 6-4 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 31/17
Ito – 18/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 16/5
Ito – 9/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 5/9
Ito – 0/0

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Djokovic – 72
Ito – 65

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Djokovic – 93/56
Ito – 66/33

TOTAL POINTS
Djokovic – 88
Ito – 53

Novak Djokovic heads into the Australian Open second round on the back of dropping a rare set in his first outing in Melbourne.

The Serbian star, a record seven-time champion of the event, needed four sets to get through his opener.

Still, Djokovic remains on track ahead of facing wildcard Tatsuma Ito in the second round on Wednesday.

We take a closer look at the 16-time grand slam champion's form heading into the clash.

Form and results

Even Djokovic managed a first in his opening-round win. The 32-year-old dropped a set and won in the Australian Open first round for the first time in his career by getting past Jan-Lennard Struff in four. The last time he had dropped a set in his opener in Melbourne was in 2006, when he was beaten by Paul Goldstein. Djokovic may be better off for the test, having gone 6-0 in singles at the ATP Cup to begin his 2020.

R1: bt Struff 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1

Next up

Due to rain, Ito's opener was pushed back to Tuesday, but the 31-year-old from Japan needed little time to brush past lucky loser Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-4 6-2 7-5. Ito is the world number 146, but did manage a best ranking of 60 in 2012. However, he has played mostly on the Challenger Tour since 2013 and has never met Djokovic, who will be favoured to ease through.

Draw

If Djokovic gets past Ito as expected, he will face 30th seed Dan Evans or Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in the third round. Diego Schwartzman (14th seed) and Dusan Lajovic (24th) are potential fourth-round opponents.

What he said

"It’s great to be back in this arena that has a very special place in my heart. This has been by far the most successful court in my career, I love coming back to Australia, the land of tennis. I want to thank everyone for staying until midnight and supporting both players."

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic savoured his win over Jan-Lennard Struff, highlighting his grand slam success after difficult first-round matches.   

Djokovic - eyeing a record-extending eighth Australian Open title - kicked off his title defence with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1 victory against tenacious German Struff in Melbourne on Monday.

The 16-time slam champion looked set to close out a straight-sets win after surviving a tense first set, in which he committed 12 unforced errors, before Struff rallied to force a fourth on Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic, though, was not to be denied a 900th ATP career victory and the Serb star told reporters: "I actually like tough first rounds in grand slams particularly.

"Historically I had lots of success in grand slams where I had tough opponents in the first round. Because it gets me going. 

"From the beginning I have to be alert, I have to be on a high level. I think I was."

Djokovic, who will face either Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito or lucky loser Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the second round, added: "Overall it was a really solid start, especially in the second and the fourth set I played on a higher level. [I] served pretty good, lots of aces, high percentage of first serves in.

"I felt kind of in control of the match. Even when I lost the third set I just felt like 'if I am on the right level, I have the upper hand'. I ended this match in a good fashion, in a right way and this is very positive."

Novak Djokovic vowed to "enjoy every moment" after reaching the second round of the Australian Open on an opening day that saw seeds Denis Shapovalov and Borna Coric crash out.

Djokovic started the defence of his title with a battling 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1 victory over Jan-Lennard Struff at Melbourne Park on Monday.

Losing his serve three times while dropping the third set and having to edge a close tie-break in the opener meant Djokovic spent longer than he would have hoped on court, but he relished the two-hour-and-16-minute encounter.

Asked about winning his 900th Tour-level match, the second seed said: "I'm obviously very proud of all the achievements, but at the same time I try to remind myself how grateful I am to be playing this sport at a high level at this stage of my career. 

"I can't take things for granted, I'm trying to enjoy every moment. It's a New Year resolution, to enjoy more. It's easier said than done when you're on the court.

"Especially in my position, I'm expected to win all my matches, there's a lot of pressure and emotions involved. But I try to really enjoy it, the two and half hours spent on court were a lot of fun."


SHAPOVALOV AND CORIC FALL AT FIRST HURDLE

The biggest shock of the day saw number 13 seed Shapovalov fall to a four-set defeat against Hungarian world number 67 Marton Fucsovics.

Fucsovics won 7-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 7-6 (7-3) in three hours and 13 minutes as the highly-rated Canadian crashed out.

Shapovalov lost his temper with the umpire when he was giving a code violation for racket abuse despite it not being damaged.

"I think that's a terrible call from the [umpire]," Shapovalov said. "The rule [according to] what I know is that if I break my racket, yeah you can code me, but you can't code me for slamming it.

"I'm not doing anything and it didn't impact anyone and the racket was still intact. He gave me a warning because I did it two or three times and I think that's not the way it works."

Number 25 seed Coric was eliminated in straight sets by Sam Querrey. 

The American won 6-3 6-4 6-4 as a dreadful run for Coric, which has seen him win only one of his last 10 matches, went on.
 

FEDERER AND TSITSIPAS COAST THROUGH

Roger Federer progressed in comfortable fashion, the third seed seeing off Steve Johnson 6-3 6-2 6-2 in only 81 minutes.

Johnson only forced one break-point opportunity in the match against the 20-time grand slam and did not convert it.

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, the ATP Finals champion and a semi-finalist in Melbourne last year, got off to a smooth start, defeating Salvatore Caruso 6-0 6-2 6-3.

 

RAIN LEAVES MATCHES UNFINISHED

Inclement weather left a host of Monday's other first-round matches incomplete, with Reilly Opelka closing in on an upset against Fabio Fognini when play was suspended at 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 1-0.

Rising star Jannik Sinner has a 2-0 lead over Max Purcell with the third set level at 4-4, while Roberto Bautista Agut was a set up against Feliciano Lopez.

Milos Raonic is one game away from a first-round win, his match against Lorenzo Giustino all-but over with the Canadian 6-2 6-1 5-2 to the good.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.