Novak Djokovic equalled Roger Federer’s record by reaching a 58th grand slam quarter-final in style at the Australian Open.
It appeared the world number one might do so by becoming the first player to claim a ‘triple bagel’ victory at the tournament when he won the first 13 games against Adrian Mannarino.
The Frenchman looked hugely relieved when he finally got on the board in the second game of the third set but Djokovic, playing in his 73rd major tournament, eased to a 6-0 6-0 6-3 victory.
Having started the tournament battling illness and surviving two long matches, Djokovic is now looking in ominous form, although he still became riled by the crowd at times.
“The best sets I’ve played in a while,” the Serbian said afterwards. “I really wanted to lose that game in the third set because the tension was building up so much in the stadium. I needed to get that out of the way and refocus on what I needed to do to finish the match.
“I served very well. In the moments when I needed to come up with the first serve, I did. All in all, great performance.
“The last couple of days has been really good so it’s going in a positive direction health wise, tennis wise, so I’m really happy.”
Next Djokovic faces 12th seed Taylor Fritz, who claimed a landmark victory over last year’s runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Fritz went into the match with a 0-11 record against top-10 players at grand slams, but came away with a 7-6 (3) 5-7 6-3 6-3 triumph to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the first time.
He will need to achieve another first if he is to go further having lost all eight previous meetings with Djokovic, including a painful five-set defeat in the third round three years ago when the Serbian suffered an abdominal injury mid-match.
Cheered on by Melbourne’s large Greek population, Tsitsipas has enjoyed the best results of his career at the Australian Open but he failed to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2020.