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By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, January 26, 2020

 
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic outclassed Diego Schartzman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 scoring his 11th straight Australian Open win to set up a quarterfinal clash vs. Milos Raonic.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Novak Djokovic aims to return to the tennis summit—and believes going downhill fast has helped him power into peak play.

The defending Australian Open champion outclassed Diego Schartzman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 scoring his 11th straight Melbourne win to set up a quarterfinal clash vs. Milos Raonic.

More: Kyrgios Conquers Khachanov

Djokovic dictated play from the center of the court converting four of eight break point chances charging into his 11th AO quarterfinal.




The second-ranked Serbian has dropped just one set in four tournament victories.

Djokovic attributes his body control and flexibility to one of his passions: skiiing.

"I think skiing has affected the flexibility of my ankles, my joints," Djokovic said. "I know a lot of players are forbidden to ski, but I don't have that in my contract. I don't sign a contract that conditions me not to ski.

"Skiing, it kind of runs in my veins. I come from a professional skier's family. My dad used to compete. My uncle, my aunts. For us, it's kind of normal to be on the slopes. I grew up on the mountain."

Djokovic will try to extend his undefeated run to the season against a familiar obstacle.

Earlier, Raonic ripped 35 aces and did not drop serve dismissing 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 to reach the Melbourne quarterfinals for the fifth time.

“It feels pretty damn good, I’ve got to say,” Raonic said on court after his win. “I can’t complain about it and I’m just happy with how things are going. I’m happy I have another chance to play in two days here and it’s been an exciting tournament for me so far, but hopefully there are more exciting things ahead.”

The good news for the 32nd-seeded Candian is he's not lost serve the entire event and leads the tournament with 82 aces through four rounds.

The bad news: Djokovic has won all nine of their prior meetings, including a straight-sets win in the 2015 Australian Open quarterfinals.

This quarterfinal clash pits Raonic's damaging serve against Djokovic's devastating return. The seven-time champion has broken serve a tournament-best 21 times so far. 




Fifty-five minutes into today's fourth rounder, Djokovic was cruising with a two-break lead when Schwartzman befuddled the second seed winning a couple of cat-and-mouse points at net, including a no-look flick, breaking for 1-3.

Djokovic was striking too sharply for Schwartzman to pose too tough of a test.

Facing triple set point, the Argentinean did the right thing attacking behind a mid-court ball but badly bungled a backhand volley into net as Djokovic snatched a two-set lead with a clenched fist.

The 32-year-old Djokovic won 16 of 26 trips to net closing in two hours, six minutes to raise his record to 10-0 on the season. 


 

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