Ruthless Novak Djokovic, Aryna Sabalenka in Australian Open quarterfinals Tennis News

Novak Djokovic had his “best match of the year” on Monday to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, with Aryna Sabalenka a similarly ruthless winner. After a flurry of shocks at Melbourne Park, normal order was more or less restored on day eight except for fourth seed Caroline Garcia, who bowed under the weight of expectation. Djokovic stepped up his bid for a 10th Melbourne crown and record 22nd major title overall by breaking Alex de Minaur after dropping just five matches to reach the last eight.

The Russian will meet fifth seed Andrey Rublev for the semi-finals after the Russian defeated Danish teenager Holger Rune in a thrilling five-set clash at Rod Laver Arena.

The Serb’s 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 rout of 22nd-seeded home Hope de Minaur was an ominous statement of intent. Remarkably, his troubled left hamstring has improved greatly.

Asked later how he was so emphatic, Djokovic told the crowd: “Because I wanted to.

“I can’t say I’m sorry you didn’t watch the long match. I really wanted to win in straight sets.”

The 35-year-old called it his “best match of the year so far” and said of his hamstring: “I didn’t feel anything today, so today was great.”

Rublev admitted he was “lucky” after saving two match points in an energy-sapping heat against Rooney.

He described beating the 19-year-old as “not like a rollercoaster, it’s like they put a gun to your head. A rollercoaster is easy.”

In a shock men’s draw including defending champion Rafael Nadal’s second-round exit, the last-eight clash will be between two unseeded Americans.

20-year-old ~Czech~ Ben Shelton, in his first trip outside the United States, emerged from another five-setter against friend and fellow American JJ Wolff.

Shelton is only the fourth man in the last 20 years to reach the Melbourne quarter-finals on debut.

“I was really focused in the fifth set, just being energetic, trusting my fitness and just hustling, being brave and I thought I did a really good job of competing at the highest level in the fifth set,” said the 89th-ranked Shelton.

He plays Tommy Paul, who defeats 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

‘Not comfortable’ Garcia

In the women’s draw, Garcia became the latest top-10 ranked player with a shock defeat to world number 45 Magda Linnett.

It is the first Grand Slam since the start of the Open era in 1968 to lose the top two seeds in both the men’s and women’s draws before the last eight.

The unseeded Pole stunned Lynette Garcia 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 and the Frenchman admitted the anticipation and nerves got the better of her.

Asked if being one of the favorites for the title was too much to handle, he replied: “Yes, I think so.

“That’s one thing I’m not comfortable with.”

Lynette said she “couldn’t believe” that she had reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final at the age of 30.

She faces Karolina Pliskova after the former world number one defeated China’s Zhang Shuai 6-0, 6-4.

Sabalenka never seemed to follow top seed Iga Suatec, Garcia and the rest from the year’s first major.

Belarusian Sabalenka and third-seeded American Jessica Pegula — both chasing a first major crown — are now the women to beat.

Sabalenka beat dangerous 12th seed Belinda Bencic 7-5, 6-2 in a last-eight clash against unseeded Donna Vecic, who beat 17-year-old Linda Fruhvartova in three sets.

The hard-hitting Sabalenka reached her first quarter-final at the Australian Open and said: “My whole life, it took me a while to realize that negative emotions don’t help you on the court.

“You just have to stay strong and believe no matter what and then do whatever you can.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)

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