Novak Djokovic in imperious form at Australian Open

Serbian too good for Italian Fabio Fognini, Tomas Berdych to meet David Ferrer in quarters

 Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a backhand in his fourth round match against Fabio Fognini of Italy  at Melbourne Park.  Photograph:   Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a backhand in his fourth round match against Fabio Fognini of Italy at Melbourne Park. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

 

Novak Djokovic radiated confidence as he swatted aside Italian showman Fabio Fognini to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The Serbian has won the title for the last three years and will take some stopping this time as well if he maintains the form he showed in a 6-3 6-0 6-2 victory on Sunday.

It took just an hour and 33 minutes for Djokovic to defeat his good friend Fognini, who is at a career-high ranking of 16. After Rafael Nadal’s crushing win over Gael Monfils on Saturday night, it was just the message Djokovic would have wanted to send to his rivals.

He said: “I felt from the start that I’ve been elevating my game as the tournament is going on. Every match is better. The general feeling on the court, all the shots, using the court position really well, being aggressive, playing my style of the game.

“That’s what I’ve done really well today overall from the first to the last point. I haven’t allowed my opponent to come back to the match. Mentally I was there. I was tough. I was focused. I feel great about myself in this moment.

“There is this confidence that I carry from many wins that I had in the last two months of the 2013 season, and I started off this season in a good style. I’m trying to keep it up.”

The victory was Djokovic’s 28th in a row since his US Open final defeat by Nadal and 24th in succession at Melbourne Park. Next he could well face a rematch of the epic fourth-round clash with Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka that he won 12-10 in a fifth set in Melbourne 12 months ago.

Fognini could offer little to entertain the crowd in terms of a competitive match but was happy to fool around in the third set, engaging with fans and then throwing his racquet in jest towards Djokovic after he was broken to trail 5-2.

Djokovic said: “I’ve known him for a long time so for me it’s funny, but I did try not to laugh too much about it.”

Djokovic had his own fun at the end of the match, impersonating his coach Boris Becker’s serve in front of the watching German.

“I saw his facial reactions,” said Djokovic. “The first impression, when I did the serves, he was happy and he was applauding. When I said how he is today with the problems in his back and everything, he was not so happy about that. But it’s all for good laughs.

“It’s actually the first time after a long time I’ve done a Becker imitation. I’m going to gain a few kilos and have to colour my hair in order to do the proper Becker imitation!”

Djokovic was overshadowed on Sunday by another Serbian, Ana Ivanovic, who caused a sensation by upsetting Serena Williams in the preceding match. The pair grew up playing tennis together in Belgrade, and Djokovic said: “I’m very happy for her.

“She must be feeling very confident. Hopefully she’s going to carry that confidence from today’s win and it’s going to help her to come back to where she deserves to be — top five in the world.”

Third seed David Ferrer made his ninth straight grand slam quarter-final, coming from a set down to defeat unorthodox German Florian Mayer 6-7 (5/7) 7-5 6-2 6-1.

In the last eight he will meet seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson for the fifth time in the last nine grand slams 6-2 6-2 6-3.

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