Novak Djokovic matched Roger Federer’s record at the Australian Open with a comfortable victory over Adrian Mannarino.

Estimated read time 4 min read

Adrian Mannarino has a unique habit of not wanting to know who his next opponent is until the last possible moment. He believes that this knowledge only adds unnecessary stress and so he makes a conscious effort to avoid it before each match.

“I faced a challenge in Melbourne when my driver encouraged me before my second-round match against Jaume Munar. While checking the schedule for a friend’s match, I was surprised to see that my own match was being displayed on the screen. I was taken aback and thought to myself, ‘Now I know.'”

Novak Djokovic, on the contrary, was well aware of his opponent long before they stepped onto Rod Laver Arena on Sunday afternoon. He diligently prepared for the match, determined to find even the slightest advantage that could give him an edge. The result was a one-sided game, with Djokovic dominating Mannarino 6-0, 6-0, 6-3. This impressive performance allowed him to advance to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Djokovic is set to compete in his 58th grand slam quarter-final, matching Roger Federer’s record. He has reached the quarter-finals 14 times in Australia, tying with Rafael Nadal and John Newcombe for the second-highest number at this event. His undefeated streak at the Australian Open has now reached 32 matches.

Djokovic’s win in the tournament was a significant display of his improving performance. Despite a slow start and difficulties in the first two rounds, he showed remarkable improvement. According to Djokovic, it was his best tennis day and he is excited to continue into the second week.

Novak Djokovic serves against Adrian Mannarino during their fourth-round Australian Open match at Rod Laver Arena

Mannarino stepped onto Rod Laver Arena after having played for almost 12 hours in three rounds, winning three five-set matches in a row. Despite being 35 years old, he is currently playing the most exceptional tennis of his career. His playing style is distinctive, characterized by short and concise groundstrokes that make it challenging to predict and anticipate his moves. However, he effectively utilizes this technique to redirect his opponents’ strengths. He combines his skill of being able to absorb his opponent’s shots with a diverse range of shots and strategic court play.

However, those resources are insufficient when facing Djokovic. Despite Mannarino’s attempts to step out of his usual style and play aggressively by taking the ball early and controlling the pace, Djokovic’s exceptional defense consistently caused him to make mistakes. Djokovic also excelled in his serving during critical moments and was able to break down Mannarino’s defense with ease. Throughout the match, the two engaged in numerous long rallies, but it was Djokovic who came out victorious every time by outmaneuvering his opponent on all areas of the court.

Djokovic won the first set in 33 minutes and the second set in 34 minutes. Mannarino, having not won a game in two sets, sat back in his seat and made a gesture of 0s with his fingers, laughing hysterically towards his support team. As the outcome of the match was almost certain, the crowd entertained themselves by loudly cheering for a single game. At times, Djokovic responded with gestures of his own.

Djokovic mentioned that the pressure in the third set was immense, with uncertainty over whether his opponent would win a game. The crowd was rooting for his opponent and wanted to see him stay in the match. Djokovic even considered intentionally losing a game in order to regroup and stay focused, as the tension continued to mount with each passing game without his opponent scoring. He acknowledged the difficulty for both himself and his opponent in trying to ignore the possibility of a triple bagel.

Bypass the promotion for the newsletter.

Mannarino erupted in laughter after winning his first game in the third set, but it was short-lived. Djokovic dominated the set and advanced to the quarter-finals where he will compete against the 12th seed, Taylor Fritz. Fritz defeated the 7th seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in a 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory to secure a spot in the final eight.

Djokovic has a perfect 8-0 record against Fritz, with seven of those victories being in straight sets. The only time Fritz challenged him was at the 2021 Australian Open, where they engaged in a thrilling five-set match.

Fritz mentioned that many of his previous matches were from his younger days. He believes that since then, he has improved and become a better player. However, in his recent matches against Novak, he hasn’t been able to bring his best game. He acknowledges that when competing against someone like Novak, one needs to be at their top level. Fritz is determined to serve as well as he did today and feels confident that if he plays at the same level, he has a chance of winning.


You May Also Like

More From Author