Djokovic cruises into Australian Open quarters

BEN MCKAY
Last updated 20:25 19/01/2014
Novak Djokovic
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TOO EASY: Novak Djokovic breezed through his fourth round matchup and looks odds-on favourite to make it through to the final of the Australian Open.

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Novak Djokovic has made light work of Italian 15th seed Fabio Fognini to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Djokovic's 6-3 6-0 6-2 win over 93 minutes continued a dominant week for the Open favourite, who is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park.

The Serb won the opening set with a solitary break and without statistical domination but stepped up his game emphatically from the second set.

From the fourth deuce of the opening game, Djokovic won 14 of the next 15 points to surge to 4-0 and effectively end the contest.

A mesmerising mid-air swipe in the next game akin to a scene from The Matrix typified Djokovic's status as the chosen one, with Fognini powerless to resist.

Despite the match slipping away from him, the brash Italian hammed it up on the centre court stage, joking with the crowd and hitting powerful winners when the few opportunities arose.

Djokovic, who counts Fognini as one of his oldest friends on tour, said maintaining his focus was crucial to the win.

"Obviously I wanted to laugh at his jokes but I didn't want to have any lapse in concentration," he said.

"It's never easy but I think I played a great match from the beginning to the end."

Djokovic celebrated the win by sending up his new coach Boris Becker to the delight of the capacity Rod Laver Arena crowd.

Joining Djokovic in the last eight is Spanish third seed David Ferrer, who did it tougher against German journeyman Florian Mayer.

Ferrer took just under three hours to defeat Mayer 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-2 6-1 and book his ninth straight grand slam quarter-final appearance.

It was Mayer who started fastest, combining impressive mobility with an unpredictable shot choice to disrupt Ferrer, leading through the set with an early break.

Ferrer found his range and with an impressive string of forehand winners broke back and forced a tie-break but Mayer was too strong, winning 7-5.

Mayer - who had already claimed the scalp of 14th seed Mikhail Youzhny and 20th seed Jerzy Janowicz in his last two matches - looked a good chance to continue his giant-killing run but Ferrer upped his game in the second set.

After admonishing himself during the tie-break, Ferrer raced to a 4-0 lead with ten winners before Mayer had made one.

But again Mayer made himself a menace, reeling in Ferrer's lead to draw level at 5-5 before succumbing to the Spaniard's consistency and foot speed to lose the set 7-5.

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Ferrer put the foot down from that point, scorching a series of trademark running winners to close out the match in four sets.

Seventh seed Tomas Berdych has the opportunity to set up a meeting with Ferrer when he plays 19th seed Kevin Anderson Sunday night, while Djokovic will play the winner of eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka and 17th Tommy Robredo.

- AAP

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