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The start of the second week of the Australian Open has seen Novak Djokovic lay down a marker to his title rivals with a blowout victory over Alex de Minaur. The Aussie was tipped to be Djokovic’s biggest challenge yet at the 2023 Australian Open, but he faltered on the biggest stage as the Serbian tennis star ran riot.
Djokovic wrapped things up in little over two hours, dropping just five games in the entire match. Ben Shelton’s dream Grand Slam run also continued as he came from 2-1 down in sets to defeat compatriot J.J. Wolf.
The young American only turned pro last summer and is competing in just his second Grand Slam tournament having made his debut at the US Open. There was another shock in the women’s singles earlier in the day when Caroline Garcia was knocked out by Magda Linette.
It means just three of the top 20 seeds remain in the women’s draw with Aryna Sabalenka the strong favourite to win the title. Jessica Pegula will also fancy her chances, although the American faces a difficult quarter-final against Victoria Azarenka.
Make sure to return bright and early tomorrow, for all coverage across the Australian Open with Express sport.
Tuesday’s action sees us treated with quarter-final showdowns.
Elena Rybakina takes on Jelena Ostapenko, while Jessica Pegula meets Victoria Azarenka.
See you then!
To be brutally honest, it doesn’t look great.
NK is out of surgery on his knee and keeping his millions of followers worldwide updated on his every move.
But it seems actual movements are going to be limited for quite some time, with Kyrgios now sporting a full-on specialist knee brace to aid recovery.
The courts seem a long way away right now.Victoria Azarenka says she is looking forward to facing her close friend Jessica Pegula for a place in the Australian Open semi-finals.
The Belarusian is hoping to gain revenge on the No 3 seed after crashing out in straight sets in their last meeting in Guadalajara last year. But Azarenka thinks it will be a tough battle against her American pal.
“She’s a great friend of mine,” said Azarenka. “I absolutely adore her.
“We have really tough battles every single time. We practise with each other. There’s going to be no surprises absolutely.
“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be a lot of rallies, the ball is going to be low.”
Australian Open star Ben Shelton has revealed he had never left the United States before travelling Down Under for his breakthrough Slam – and vowed to see more of the world once the tournament concludes.
The 20-year-old reached the quarter-finals with a five-set victory over his fellow American J.J Wolf and he will face another American, Tommy Paul, for a place in the last four. But Shelton admitted he had struggled to adjust after leaving his home nation for the first time.
“Leaving the States for the first time definitely felt strange at first,” said Atlanta-born Shelton. “It took me a little bit of time to get over the jetlag and feel like I had got my feet under me after the trip.
“I’m feeling pretty good physically now but it was definitely a difficult adjustment.
“I’ve been across the States – from Florida to California – and got my passport in 2019. Finally I got to use it.
“Getting to see two new countries, Australia and New Zealand, has been a cool experience so far and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the world over the coming months when I’m on the tour.”… and so, the bromance continues.
Today has been all about Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios is still his biggest supporter, it seems.
Watching Novak tonight makes me feel good about my tennis in general ud83eudd23 how have I beaten this guy ud83eudd23
The bookies are backing Novak Djokovic to draw level with Rafael Nadal on 22 Grand Slams by reigning supreme at the 2022 Australian Open.
Djokovic is the odds-on favourite to win his fourth successive title in Melbourne, with his expected final opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas the second favourite.
Sebastian Korda is the third favourite ahead of fifth seed Andrey Rublev, likely because the latter must navigate past Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
Novak Djokovic faces a much tougher test against Andrey Rublev than he did against Alex de Minaur, according to Mats Wilander.
The Eurosport expert believes Djokovic should expect a different match than against De Minaur in the quarter-finals.
He said: “His first serve is better. Not sure about the second serve, but his first serve is a little harder, a little more precise.
“I think he hits his forehand better than De Minaur. I think he can take the ball a little bit earlier.
“I don’t know if Novak is going to be able to dictate as much, I don’t know if Novak necessarily wants to dictate as much against Rublev as he was allowed to today.
“So I think it’s a different match-up, and Rublev – yes, he’s a better player than De Minaur everywhere to me.”
Novak Djokovic is now the favourite to win the men’s Australian Open after his ‘statement’ win against Alex de Minaur, according to Tim Henman.
The Eurosport expert has backed Djokovic to lift his 10th title in Melbourne amid a dominant run to the quarter-finals.
”For me, it was a statement performance and statement victory. We’ve seen in the men’s and women’s singles there’s been so many upsets.
“The top two seeds have gone out of both draws for the first time in the Open Era… he is the favourite.”
Djokovic can strengthen his claim to the throne by defeating fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the quarters.
Coco Gauff has hailed her American compatriot Ben Shelton after he reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open.
The 20-year-old defeated JJ Wolf in five sets to set up a last-eight clash with Tommy Paul.
And Gauff took to social media to heap praise on his achievement, captioning a post on Instagram: “Unreal @benshelton.”
He responded: “Keep poppin aces [goat emoji].”
Gauff crashed out to Jelena Ostapenko in her fourth round match but is still in the women’s doubles with Jessica Pegula.Novak Djokovic has fired back at sceptics over his injury issues, suggesting he’s treated differently than when Rafael Nadal and others suffer setbacks.
He said: “I leave that to them. Let them continue to doubt.
“It’s interesting that only my injuries are suspected, but when other players get injured, and it affects them, then they are the victims, and I’m a pretend player.”
The Serb has been hampered by a thigh injury at the Australian Open, but it hasn’t stopped him producing a dominant tournament so far.
He will face fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals after dispatching Alex de Minaur in straight sets on Monday.
Alex de Minaur appeared to raise some suspicions about Novak Djokovic‘s hamstring injury after the fourth seed downed him 6-2 6-1 6-2 in their Australian Open fourth-round tie.
The 23-year-old was full of praise for Djokovic’s performance during his post-match press conference, prompting a reporter to ask whether it made “all the speculation about the hamstring frustrating” as his opponent.
De Minaur played coy, responding: “I don’t know. You tell me how you thought he looked out there. Playing him, I thought he was moving pretty well, so… I don’t know.”
Nick Kyrgios was left wondering how he ever beat Novak Djokovic after watching on as the Serbian dismantled Alex de Minaur in straight sets at the Australian Open.
Taking to social media after Djokovic’s win, Kyrgios tweeted: “Watching Novak tonight makes me feel good about my tennis in general. How have I beaten this guy.”
Kyrgios is part of an elite group as one of the only players to hold a winning record against Djokovic.
Three of the final eight in the men’s singles draw are American for the first time since 2005.
Tommy Paul, Ben Shelton and Sebastian Korda are all flying the flag for the United States and there will be at least one in the semi-final.
Paul faces off against breakout star Shelton in their quarter-final on Wednesday with the winner taking on either Novak Djokovic or Andrey Rublev.
Korda must come through a testing match against Karen Khachanov in his side of the draw with the winner of that tie facing either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Jiri Lehecka.
Can one of the American lads win their first Grand Slam title?Novak Djokovic believes Stefanos Tsitsipas could be his biggest challenge to winning his 10th Australian Open title this week.
Djokovic is the red-hot favourite to clinch the title in the Rod Laver Arena this weekend after his demolition job of Alex de Minaur on Monday.
But Djokovic believes Tsitsipas could certainly be a threat if the Greek star makes it through to the final.
He said: “I know Tsitsipas, for example, probably the most experienced guy out of all of them, all the quarterfinalists. He has played already the final stages of a Grand Slam quite a few times.
“What I wanted to say is I wanted to compliment him because he’s someone that looks ready to go for the title, and the way he has been playing, he’s been coming closer and closer.”Watch the highlights as Novak Djokovic thrashed Alex de Minaur to reach his 13th Australian Open quarter-final.
Watch every match from the Australian Open live and exclusive on discovery+ and Eurosport
By Neil McLeman in Melbourne
Aryna Sabalenka reached the quarter-finals here for the first time after getting help for her “f****** serve”.
The Belarusian served 19 double faults in the second round here last year – and a total 428 double-faults in her 55 matches across the season
But the world No5 has still to drop a set this year after she beat Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 7-5 6-2 yesterday. And she only served double faults – and served four aces – after off-season work with a biomechanics trainer.
“We tried so many different things,” said Sabalenka. “At the end of the season, I started working with the biomechanics guy, he has helped me a lot.
“I was, like: ‘Please, someone help me to fix this f******serve!’ I’m sorry for swearing, but this is how it was. This is the true feeling. I think from there, everything started getting on that level. I am happy he was able to help me. I’m super happy that it’s happened to me.”
Bencic is now coached by Dimitry Tursunov – the Russian who used to work with Sabalenka and Emma Raducanu. The Swiss said: “Definitely today I felt like I couldn’t handle her power.”Novak Djokovic has admitted he had to cave to requests from his medical team to start taking anti-inflammatory pills to help cope with his hamstring injury.
The former world No 1 was speaking after his dominant win over Alex de Minaur where he stated he felt no pain in the hamstring throughout the match.
But that might have had something to do with the “lot of pills” Djokovic has been taking over the past few days.
His comments drew laughter and some whooping from the crowd inside Rod Laver Arena with Djokovic replying: “Not those kinds of pills guys, anti-inflammatory pills that I normally don’t like taking but I had to find a way with my team and take it day by day.
“Today, as I said, I don’t wanna go too deep into is because today was the best day so far of the tournament and hopefully stays that way.”Hard to think of an easier Grand Slam fourth-round win for Novak Djokovic than that one.
Little over two hours and Alex de Minaur just didn’t have enough to trouble Djokovic today.
The spectacle was ruined somewhat by a few hecklers in the final set with Mohamed Lahyani having to step in on one too many occasions.
But the nine-time champion held his nerve well to finish the job and set up a quarter-final with Andrey Rublev.There’s nothing De Minaur can do here against Novak Djokovic on top form.
Managed to avoid the bagel, but that’s an indication on just how well Djokovic is playing that it’s an achievement for the Australian to win just one game.
It’s the perfect match for Djokovic so far as well to give his leg a rest.Novak Djokovic has “clearly adjusted his game” against Alex de Minaur to alleviate any pressure on his hamstring.
That’s according to Australian sports physician Dr Peter Larkins, who tweeted: “Djokovic has clearly adjusted his game tonight to protect his left hamstring-looking for short rallies / higher power / wants midcourt real estate.”By Neil McLeman in Melbourne
Joe Salisbury refused to blame a nagging back injury for his shock early exit.
US Open winners Salisbury and Rajeev Ram had a match point before going down 6-7 7-6 6-2 to Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski in the third round.
The Londoner, 30, has been dogged by a “disc issue” for over a year – and paid to bring his own physio to the first Grand Slam of the year
Salisbury, who will next play the Davis Cup tie in Colombia, said: “My back is something I am going to have to manage for the rest of my career. It is not going to completely fix itself and never be an issue again. I have a physio (Danielle Yarwood) out here with me for this trip, which has definitely helped a lot. It has been good in all the matches so it hasn’t been an issue the last few weeks.
“I don’t think I will need surgery. I don’t think it will help it that much – maybe as a last resort if there is really no other option but hopefully it won’t get to that.”
Top seeds Neal Skupski and Dutchman Wesley Koolhof are through to the quarter-finals after they won 6-4 6-2 against Nikola Cacic and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.Novak Djokovic is no showing no signs of that troublesome hamstring causing him issues against Alex de Minaur.
The nine-time champion took just a few games to find his feet and then stepped on the gas to wrap things up in little over half an hour.
De Minaur’s got to find something to test Djokovic here or he’ll be heading out at the fourth-round yet again
Watch the highlights as Andrey Rublev edged Holger Rune in a five-set thriller.
Watch every match from the Australian Open live and exclusive on discovery+ and Eurosport
What a tournament this young man is having!
Ben Shelton keeps his nerve at the end to defeat J.J. Wolf and reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
A reminder that the 20-year-old only turned pro last summer!
And he faces the winner of Tommy Paul or Roberto Bautista Agut…What a wild match inside Rod Laver Arena!
A true back-and-forth clash between Andrey Rubliv and Holger Rune with the young Dane missing two match points before the fifth-set tiebreak.
He then went 5-0 up in the 10-point tiebreak before Rublev embarked on an incredible comeback.
And the Russian tennis star eventually got the job done to reach the quarter-finals!The all-American fourth-round clash between Ben Shelton and J.J. Wolf has gone into a fifth set and the former is just a few games away from reaching the quarter-finals.
The 20-year-old only made his ATP Tour debut last year and has taken the men’s game by storm with his wicked serve.
He’s already guaranteed a huge climb up the rankings. Could he be America’s next big superstar in tennis?
The women’s singles matches are already wrapped up for today with Aryna Sabalenka making light work of her match against Belinda Bencic.
Donna Vekic also battled past Linda Fruhvirtova to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time in her career.
And Karolina Pliskova looked in great form as she beat Zhang Shuai.Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas has said it will be a ‘disgrace’ if Novak Djokovic is stopped from playing in the Sunshine Double.
The nine-time Australian Open champion was given bad news earlier this month when it was announced that proof of vaccination against Covid-19 would still be needed until at least April 10.
It means Djokovic will almost certainly miss both Indian Wells and Miami, unless those rules are changed in the coming weeks.
“I think he wants to play, so we should give him the chance,” Haas told wwos.
“Hopefully we can have him there. I mean, it would be a disgrace in my eyes if he wasn’t coming to these events, or not allowed to come.”
Hello and welcome back to Express Sport’s live coverage of the Australian Open.
We’re now into the second week of the slam and we’re just days away from the finals.
There was another shock overnight as Caroline Garcia, the No 4 seed, lost to Magda Linette.
Jessica Pegula, Aryna Sabalenka and Jelena Ostapenko are now the only players inside the top 20 seeds remaining in the women’s draw.
Novak Djokovic faces his toughest test to date in the tournament later this morning when he faces Australian hope Alex de Minaur.
Stay with us throughout the day for live updates. See today’s front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.