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Other SportsAustralian Open: Day six round-up – Djokovic, Sinner and Sabalenka cruise through

Australian Open: Day six round-up – Djokovic, Sinner and Sabalenka cruise through

Novak Djokovic marked his 100th career match at the Australian Open with a dominant display as he cruised into the fourth round with a straight-sets win over Tomas Martin Etcheverry on Friday.

Djokovic’s path to the third round had been less than serene, with the Serbian taken to four sets by both Dino Prizmic and Alexei Popyrin, also losing his cool in the latter match when he remonstrated with a heckler in the crowd.

However, despite suggestions that Etcheverry could trouble Djokovic after conquering Andy Murray in round one, the 24-time grand slam champion showed his class for a 6-3 6-3 7-6 (7-2) win.

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Djokovic did not face a single break point and converted four of the seven he forced, looking untroubled in the first two sets before Etcheverry made a better fist of things in the third.

Buoyed by a big forehand winner at the end of a 25-shot rally, Djokovic won a tie break to tee up a fourth-round meeting with Adrian Mannarino, serving an ace on the first of four match points.

After a couple of testing encounters earlier in the tournament, Djokovic felt he showed something closer to his true level, saying: “It was a great match, the best performance I’ve had during this tournament.

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

It was a day of few shocks overall with one of Djokovic’s foremost rivals in the men’s draw, Jannik Sinner, also breezing through with a routine 6-0 6-1 6-3 win over another Argentine in Sebastian Baez.

Unlike Djokovic, Sinner is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park this year, and his latest victory was his most impressive to date as he required just one hour and 52 minutes to see off Baez.

The Italian will face 2023 semi-finalist Karen Khachanov in a potentially tricky fourth-round match on Monday after the Russian overcame Aleksandar Kovacevic in four sets.

Elsewhere in the men’s draw, home favourite Alex de Minaur beat Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli 6-3 6-3 6-1 to tee up a meeting with Andrey Rublev, who overcame Sebastian Korda.

Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Taylor Fritz in another enticing fourth-round contest, after their respective wins over Luca Van Assche and Fabian Marozsan.

Two of the favourites in the women’s draw also progressed with ease as Aryna Sabalenka continued her emphatic title defence with a crushing 6-0 6-0 win over Lesia Tsurenko in just 52 minutes.

Sabalenka has lost just six games across her three matches at the Melbourne Park grand slam this year, and she will face Amanda Anisimova in the last 16 after the American triumphed over Paula Badosa.

The second seed remains on course for a potential semi-final against Coco Gauff, who beat her in the final of the US Open last September.

Gauff is also yet to drop a set after beating fellow American Alycia Parks 6-0 6-2, converting all five of her break points and winning 88 per cent of points behind her first serve during a routine triumph.

Meanwhile, Friday’s headline result in the women’s draw saw 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva save match point before staging an astonishing third-set comeback to beat France’s Diane Parry 1-6 6-1 7-6 (10-5).

The Russian found herself 5-1 down in the decider and faced match point on her own serve but reeled off five games in a row to serve for the contest, only for Parry to break back to force a tie-break.

Andreeva, who also enjoyed a memorable run to the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, was in control throughout the tie-break as she teed up a last-16 meeting with Barbora Krejcikova.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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