June 25, 2024

Novak Djokovic demonstrated a return to top form on Friday, breezing into the Australian Open last 16 with a convincing straight-sets victory. Aryna Sabalenka and Jannik Sinner also asserted their championship aspirations with commanding performances.

Coco Gauff, the U.S. Open champion, displayed her determination with a dominant 6-0, 6-2 win, while 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva continued her impressive journey by staging a comeback against France’s Diane Parry.

In a surprising upset, Russian qualifier Maria Timofeeva advanced to the fourth round by defeating 10th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, becoming the lowest-ranked woman since 2017, at 170, to reach this stage at Melbourne Park.

Despite not being in peak condition and acknowledging feeling unwell, the ten-time champion Djokovic has now found his stride after dropping sets in his initial matches.

Novak Djokovic’s quest for a historic 25th Grand Slam title regained momentum with a straightforward victory over 30th seed Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry, securing a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) win on Rod Laver Arena. After playing his 100th Australian Open match, Djokovic, ranked world number one, expressed satisfaction with his performance, deeming it his best in the tournament. Notably, only Roger Federer (117) and Serena Williams (105) have played more matches at the Australian Open. Djokovic is set to face French 20th seed Adrian Mannarino in the next round.

Aryna Sabalenka, the defending champion, showcased dominance with a commanding 6-0, 6-0 victory over 28th-seed Lesia Tsurenko, while Jannik Sinner displayed formidable form by dropping just four games in a convincing win over Sebastian Baez.

In a successful comeback, former teen prodigy Amanda Anisimova secured a win over Paula Badosa, ending the latter’s Grand Slam injury comeback with a scoreline of 7-5, 6-4 on day six.

Amanda Anisimova, making a comeback after eight months on the sidelines due to burnout and mental health issues, faces a challenging task against Aryna Sabalenka in the next round. Sabalenka, the second seed and reigning Grand Slam champion in Melbourne, has displayed dominance by dropping only six games across three commanding matches.

In her latest match against Ukraine’s Tsurenko, Sabalenka, adorned in vivid red, exhibited exceptional focus, wrapping up the victory in just 52 minutes. Reflecting on her performance, she expressed satisfaction with her level of play and mentioned the goal of emulating world number one Iga Swiatek’s ability to win sets 6-0.

Meanwhile, fourth-seed Jannik Sinner entered the first Grand Slam of the year in peak form after a stellar end to 2023. He clinched his first Masters title in Toronto, reached the championship match at the ATP Finals (where he beat Djokovic in group play), and played a crucial role in leading Italy to the Davis Cup title.

Jannik Sinner has met expectations so far in the tournament, maintaining a flawless record without dropping a set. This stands in contrast to the higher-ranked trio of players—defending champion Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, and Daniil Medvedev. Sinner expressed satisfaction with his performance, stating that he is playing exceptionally well and feeling great. He is set to face Russian 15th seed Karen Khachanov in the next round.

Mirra Andreeva showcased her significant potential by defeating sixth seed Ons Jabeur in under an hour in the second round and displayed resilience in a comeback victory over Diane Parry with a scoreline of 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (10/5).

Maria Timofeeva’s impressive run persisted with a 7-6 (9/7), 6-3 win over Brazil’s Haddad Maia, following her earlier victory against former champion Caroline Wozniacki. Ranked at 170 in the world and in her debut Grand Slam, Timofeeva is the lowest-ranked woman to reach this stage in Melbourne since Germany’s Mona Barthel seven years ago. Overwhelmed by the support from the crowd, she described her journey as feeling like a fairytale.

Fifth seed Andrey Rublev secured a win, setting up a showdown with home favorite Alex de Minaur. Seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and 12th seed Taylor Fritz also emerged victorious and are scheduled to face each other for a spot in the quarter-finals.

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