Australian Open 2024 results: Novak Djokovic eases into fourth round in 100th match in Melbourne

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Novak Djokovic
Image caption,Novak Djokovic is chasing a record-extending 11th men’s singles title in Melbourne

By Matthew Henry

BBC Sport

Australian Open 2024
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-28 January
Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on Tennis Breakfast on Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app

Novak Djokovic celebrated his 100th match at the Australian Open with a dominant victory over Tomas Martin Etcheverry to reach the fourth round.

Top seed Djokovic showed the best form of his title defence so far to beat the 30th seed 6-3 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

It keeps the 36-year-old on course for a 25th Grand Slam title, which would take him clear of the all-time record held by Australian Margaret Court.

“It was the best performance I’ve had during this tournament,” Djokovic said.

He will next play France’s 35-year-old Adrian Mannarino, who beat 21-year-old Ben Shelton in his third five-set win in a row.

Djokovic has won 92 of his 100 matches in Melbourne, and is now the first man to play 100 matches at all four Grand Slams, having played 108 matches at the French Open, 103 at Wimbledon and 101 at the US Open.

The 10-time champion seemed distracted at times in his first two matches at Melbourne Park, dropping sets against Dino Prizmic and then Alexei Popyrin. He was also involved in a confrontation with a fan against Popyrin.

But tasked with Argentine Etcheverry, who had impressively brushed aside Andy Murray and Gael Monfils in the previous rounds, the Serb was clinical in securing a 31st win in a row at the Australian Open.

He lost just four points on serve as he dictated from the baseline in the first set, breaking in the sixth game as Etcheverry pushed a backhand long under intense pressure.

A dismissive forehand return winner earned Djokovic an early break in the second set and he took his opponent’s serve again to clinch the set. At one stage the crowd on Rod Laver Arena gasped as he produced a trademark, stunning backhand winner on the stretch.

Etcheverry played his best tennis in the third set and forced a tie-break but Djokovic took the first three points of the breaker to ease through, wrapping up victory without facing a break point in the match.

“Obviously I’m pleased with the way I played throughout the entire match, particularly the first two sets,” Djokovic said.

“He stepped it up and raised his level of tennis in the third set. We went toe-to-toe in the tiebreaker.”

Sinner positions himself as one of Djokovic’s main rivals

Jannik Sinner of Italy
Image caption,Jannik Sinner’s best run at the Australian Open was a quarter-final showing in 2022

Djokovic has won all four of his previous meetings with his next opponent Mannarino, although the left-hander has reached a career-high ranking of 19 in the world at the age of 35.

Mannarino’s 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-4 win against American Shelton came in four hours and 46 minutes, following on from five-set victories against former champion Stan Wawrinka and Spain’s Jaume Munar in the first and second rounds respectively.

Earlier Jannik Sinner showed why he is one of Djokovic’s biggest rivals for the title by thrashing Argentine Sebastian Baez.

The Italian fourth seed raced into the second week in Melbourne with a 6-0 6-1 6-3 win in less than two hours.

the 22-year-old won four titles in 2023 and ended it on a high by leading Italy to a first Davis Cup title for 47 years.

A relaxed Sinner showed his good mood on Margaret Court Arena as he joked with his coaching team moments before securing the win against 26th seed Baez.

“In matches, I used to be really, really serious, which I still am, obviously,” he added.

“But sometimes you have to smile, you have to laugh a little bit, because it’s also important and it changes your attitude on the court. I think in a positive way.”

Sinner will face Karen Khachanov next after the Russian 15th seed overcame a third-set wobble to beat Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-5).

Also on Friday, Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Frenchman Luca Van Assche to set up a fourth-round meeting with American 12th seed Taylor Fritz.

The Greek seventh seed rushed into a two-set lead, but had to fight back from a 2-0 deficit in the third to win 6-3 6-0 6-4.

Meanwhile, Fritz came from a set down to beat Hungary’s Fabian Marozsan 3-6 6-4 6-2 6-2.

Home favourite Alex de Minaur, the 10th seed, https://perjalananini.com/ also progressed with a 6-3 6-3 6-1 win over Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli.

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