Novak Djokovic was amazed to see Roger Federer save seven match points against Tennys Sandgren at the age of 38.

The Serbian, who will meet Federer on Thursday in the Australian Open semi-finals, marvelled at Federer's ability to stay alive in the competition and feels it proves his greatness.

Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) in a routine quarter-final victory, while Federer's path in a 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 win was something out of the ordinary.

"What he did today was really amazing," said Djokovic. "He showed me he's one of the best players of all time.

"I mean, to come back and save seven match points at his age, he's still playing such a great tennis and proving that he deserves to be up there.

"He never gives up. When it matters the most, he's focused and he plays his best tennis. Sandgren had chances. Out of those seven match points, there were five match points where they actually had rallies.

"But credit to Roger. Amazing that he managed to come back. It's not the first time he has done that in his career. That's why he is who he is."

It was pointed out to Djokovic that he had saved six match points in his career against Federer, four across two appearances at the US Open and two in their famous Wimbledon final last year.

But he insisted he could not compare whether that feat was more surprising than the Swiss star surviving seven in the same match on Tuesday.

"I don't know, I can't compare it," he said. "I hope I get to at least one match point in a few days!

"Obviously I have tremendous respect for Roger and everything he has achieved in the sport, definitely one of my two biggest rivals. He's a great fighter.

"I have been saying many times and I'll repeat it again: the matchups against Roger and Rafa [Nadal] have made me the player I am today so I am grateful I have had so many great matches against those guys.

"Hopefully things can come together for me in a positive way on Thursday and I can have a chance to win."

Novak Djokovic was fighting back the tears as he paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals.

NBA legend Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, had a close relationship with the 16-time grand slam champion.

Djokovic reached the last four at Melbourne Park with a 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) triumph over Milos Raonic on Tuesday.

During his on-court interview with John McEnroe, he found it difficult to maintain his composure when he was asked about Los Angeles Lakers great Bryant, whose daughter Gianna also died in the accident.

"It really caught us by surprise," Djokovic said as he wore a top that included the initials 'KB', a love heart and the basketball great's shirt numbers, eight and 24.

"He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world and I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.

"When I needed some advice and some support, he was there for me."

Djokovic had to stop speaking as he got upset when adding: "He was my mentor, my friend and it is just heartbreaking to see and hear what has happened to him and his daughter…"

A sign of the close relationship between the two sporting greats was highlighted when Djokovic had discussed Bryant at length shortly before the accident when he spoke to the media ahead of beating Diego Schwartzman in the previous round.

The Serbian had said the basketball star was a crucial inspiration when he endured a period of poor form and problems off the court in 2017 and 2018 when he was recovering from an elbow injury.

Djokovic had explained: "I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me.

"I was dropping in the rankings and then having to work my way up. He was one of the people who was really there for me.

"He was there to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I'll be back.

"I'm very grateful to him for being there for me, for being very supportive. I love Kobe – who doesn't? He's an amazing guy and one of the best basketball players and athletes of all time."

Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of Milos Raonic at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Raonic became the fourth player to suffer 10 losses to Djokovic without once beating the Serbian star after his defeat on Rod Laver Arena.

The Canadian joined Gael Monfils, Jeremy Chardy and Andreas Seppi on Djokovic's list of opponents he has well and truly dominated on the ATP Tour.

We take a look at the four's less-than-fantastic record.

 

GAEL MONFILS (0-16)

The exciting Frenchman has a game to beat most players, but clearly not Djokovic. Monfils has had his chance on every surface and fallen on every occasion. He did beat Djokovic when they met at a futures tournament in Italy in 2004 but, at ATP and grand slam level, it has been one-sided. Monfils has had his moments, with only eight of the 16 ending in straight sets, but he has never been able to get over the line, beginning at the 2005 US Open and more recently at this year's ATP Cup.

JEREMY CHARDY (0-13)

Another Frenchman, Chardy has been in an entirely one-sided match-up since 2009. Incredibly, all 13 of Djokovic's wins have come in straight sets, even when Chardy has been ranked as high as 25 at Wimbledon in 2013. Djokovic has been ranked in the top four in 12 of these matches and never had any problems against Chardy, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in 2013.

ANDREAS SEPPI (0-12)

Seppi has come close to upsetting Djokovic previously, but this is just another match-up that suits the 16-time grand slam champion. The Italian journeyman likes to sit behind the baseline, a position on the court from which few can match it with Djokovic. Since their first meeting in 2006, Djokovic has won nine of their 12 matches in straight sets and survived a gigantic scare in another. That came at the 2012 French Open, when Seppi won the first two sets before falling to the eventual runner-up.

MILOS RAONIC (0-10)

Raonic's biggest strength – his serve – may be a huge advantage in most matches, but rarely when he is taking on arguably the best returner in the sport's history. That has proven to be the case, although four of his 10 losses to Djokovic have come on clay. Since 2013, Raonic has lost eight of the meetings in straight sets, while eight of the 26 sets between them have gone to tie-breaks, seven of those won by Djokovic. Unlike some of the others on this list, the 29-year-old Canadian may get a chance to end the unwanted record.

Novak Djokovic will face Roger Federer in the Australian Open semi-finals after the defending champion eased past Milos Raonic in the last eight.

The match was delayed after Federer's clash with Tennys Sandgren went to five enthralling sets, the Swiss great saving seven match points before winning despite being troubled by a groin injury.

Djokovic's progress was far more serene, the world number two dispatching Raonic 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) in two hours and 49 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, even though an issue with his eyesight proved problematic in the closing stages.

Raonic had lost all nine of the previous meetings with Djokovic but, having beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas and Marin Cilic en route to the quarter-finals without the loss of a set, the Canadian had reason to feel a little more confident.

Raonic fired down 35 aces against Cilic but Djokovic appeared almost telepathic in his reading of the serve, the world number 35 battling to save five break points to push the Serbian to 5-4 in the first.

Djokovic at last found the breakthrough with his fourth set point in the next game, celebrating with gusto when Raonic sent a forehand wide.

The seven-time champion was looking at ease on court, having made just two unforced errors in the opening 10 games, and he was 4-1 ahead in the second in what seemed no time at all after a brilliant backhand passing shot set him up for another break.

After being upset when some supporters cheered a missed first serve, leading to a double fault, Djokovic responded with a point to his box as he closed out the set for a 2-0 lead.

Raonic regained some of the metronomic rhythm he showed in the earlier rounds but could not put enough pressure on the Djokovic serve, a simple backhand slapped into the net at 3-2 and 30-40 in the third gifting his opponent a way out of possible trouble.

Two stunning defensive shots and a forehand down the line from Djokovic left Raonic looking ashen-faced at the net, and the Serbian bounced his racquet off the court in frustration after failing to break for a 4-3 lead.

Raonic held to love to lead 5-4 after Djokovic took a timeout for a contact lens issue, and he seemed still to be troubled by his vision as he consulted the trainer at the change of ends.

Raonic found four more big serves to stave off break points and a stylish volley made it 6-5, Djokovic's problems persisting despite applying eye drops after the previous game.

Having held serve comfortably to force the tie-break, Djokovic moved 3-0 ahead after Raonic netted a routine forehand, and a similar miss handed Djokovic the win on his first of five match points.

Roger Federer is hopeful over his injury sustained in the Australian Open quarter-final, labelling it "just pain and problems" after his epic win over Tennys Sandgren.

Federer saved seven match points in a thrilling 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 victory over Sandgren in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The 20-time grand slam champion took a medical timeout during the third set and later revealed his groin was troubling him.

Federer, 38, hopes the worry is minor ahead of a semi-final against either Novak Djokovic or Milos Raonic on Thursday.

"I don't know if you can call it an injury. It's just pain and problems. I need to figure it out now," the Swiss great told a news conference.

"But as it's not like in 18 hours, like you got a third round to play, semi-finals, you have an extra day, adrenaline, there's a lot of things. Two good nights of sleep, doctors, physios.

"Hopefully we'll find out that it's actually nothing bad, that it was just the groin that went really tight from playing a lot, who knows what, from nerves.

"I don't know. I'm hopeful. We'll find out tonight, tomorrow. The next day we'll see how it goes."

Federer has already spent 12 hours and 38 minutes on court, only winning his first two matches in straight sets and being pushed to five twice.

But despite his worries, the six-time champion in Melbourne still believes in his chances of success at the year's first grand slam.

"I mean, look, if I can get through a match like this, through a match like [John] Millman [in the third round], yeah, you do believe," said Federer, who also had treatment on his right hamstring before the final set.

"I only believe it once it's over, I shake the hand of the opponent, that it's over, that it's fine.

"So, yeah, I do always believe until it's actually over, never before."

Roger Federer was under no illusion that he survived a major scare when coming through his gruelling Australian Open quarter-final with Tennys Sandgren in five sets.

After winning the first set with little fuss, Federer began to struggle and lost the next two 6-2 to the American, requiring a medical timeout when 3-0 down in the third.

With his groin and leg causing Federer discomfort, he was on the brink of defeat in the fourth set, facing a total of seven match points.

But he showed remarkable resilience to fight back and level the contest, with a visibly frustrated Sandgren struggling to keep his emotions in check.

Federer closed out the match, taking the final set to clinch a 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 victory, but he claimed he did not deserve the victory given Sandgren outscored him in terms of aces, overall points and winners.

"You've got to get lucky sometimes, I'll tell you that," a jovial Federer said in his on-court interview. "In those seven match points you're not in control, it may not look that way.

"I don't know, I was just hoping that he wasn't going to smash the winner on that one point, and just keep the ball in play, and if he misses one or two, who knows what he's thinking about?

"Even that didn't really matter. I think he played his match, I got incredibly lucky and then as the match went on, I started to feel better again.

"All the pressure went away, and I started to play. Again, I got a little lucky with the breaks and served really well I think for most of the game, particularly at the end.

"I don't deserve this one, but I'm standing here and obviously very happy.

"I don't like calling the trainer, ever, because it's a sign of weakness and all that stuff, and I try not to show it. The best is when it's a groin [injury], so you go off court and no one knows what it is.

"I just said, 'I believe in miracles'. It could rain, there could be stuff [happening]. It [the injury] wasn't bad enough where I thought it was going to get worse, I was just stiff and tight – [I was thinking] 'let him finish me off in style', and he didn't do that, so I'm incredible lucky today, tonight… I don't even know what time it is."

The 20-time grand slam winner will face either Milos Raonic or defending champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and, while the prospect of facing the latter when not 100 per cent fit is by no means kind, Federer is ready to embrace whatever happens after riding his luck.

"The draws are not getting easier, but I've got the rest of the day with nothing to do, the next day with nothing to do and then I'm playing at night. You do feel better in a couple of days and then you never know," he said.

"With these lucky escapes, you might play without any expectations anymore because you know you should already be skiing in Switzerland! I'm lucky to be here and might as well make the most of it."

Novak Djokovic's form is ominous as the Australian Open champion prepares to face Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

After a wobble in the opening round, second seed Djokovic has dominated his last three opponents en route to an 11th quarter-final appearance at Melbourne Park.

Eyeing a record-extending eighth Australian Open title, Djokovic once again looms as the player to beat in Melbourne.

We take a closer look at Djokovic as the 16-time grand slam champion prepares to meet 32nd seed Raonic on Rod Laver Arena.

Form and results

Stop Djokovic if you can. The world number two swept aside 14th seed Diego Schwartzman on Sunday. While the Argentinian proved a tougher test than Tatsuma Ito and Yoshihito Nishioka, Djokovic was far superior in the Melbourne sun. Hitting 38 winners and 31 unforced errors, the Serbian star closed out proceedings in just over two hours.

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
R4: bt Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 6-4

Next up

Former world number three Raonic stands in the way of Djokovic and another trip to the semi-finals - a repeat of the 2015 quarter-final clash in Melbourne. Raonic blitzed Marin Cilic in straight sets to advance on Sunday. However, the Canadian's 0-9 record against Djokovic is a concern.

Draw

It is the match everyone is dreaming of. Djokovic against 20-time slam winner Roger Federer in the semis. That mouthwatering showdown could happen if Djokovic maintains his perfect record against Raonic and Federer gets past Tennys Sandgren.

What he said

"It obviously helps when you have a success on a global level. Of course, it has a very positive impact in your country. Serbia didn't really have a successful or long tennis tradition, before [Slobodan] Zivojinovic and Monica Seles. That was probably the first generation of successful tennis players coming from our country."

Rafael Nadal led tributes from the ATP Tour following the tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died following a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant transcended basketball after his selection in the 1996 draft, going on to spend his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, where he claimed two Finals MVPs to go with his 2008 Most Valuable Player honour.

As the sporting world mourns his death, 19-time grand slam champion and world number one Rafael Nadal tweeted: "I woke up this morning with the horrible news of the tragic death of one of the greatest sportsman in the world. Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and other passengers. My condolences to his wife and families. I am in shock."

Rod Laver - one of the greatest tennis players of all time with 11 major titles - wrote: "Terribly sad to wake up to this news today. RIP Kobe Bryant. Too young. Deepest condolences to family and friends of the sporting legend."

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic had only spoken about Bryant - who attended last year's US Open - and his impact last week.

Prior to Sunday's fourth-round win over Diego Schwartzman at Melbourne Park, 16-time slam champion Djokovic provided an insight into Bryant following a difficult spell in 2018, which saw the Serbian star drop out of the top 20 due to an elbow injury.

"Kobe has been one of my mentors," Djokovic told ESPN. "I've had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. 

"When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I'll be back.

"I'm very grateful to him for being there for me, for being very supportive. I love Kobe, who doesn't? He's an amazing guy and one of the best basketball players and athletes of all-time."

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

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