Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic sent an ominous message to his rivals the Australian Open as he dispatched home favourite Alex De Minaur in straight sets 6-2 6-1 6-2.
The nine-time Champion had been suffering with a hamstring injury in his opening matches of the tournament but looked back to his best against Kokkinakis. The former world number one will now play in the quarter finals of the Aussie Open for the 13th time. The win was Djokovic’s 25th consecutive victory in Melbourne which is the second longest streak in history. Andre Agassi currently holds the record with 26 back-to-back wins at the Grand Slam.
Djokovic will now play fifth seed Andrey Rublev for a place in the last four. Rublev came through a roller-coaster match with Holger Rune in the last round 6-3 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6 (11-9).
Elsewhere, Britain’s Andy Murray was knocked out by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 6-4. The 35-year-old was aiming to make the fourth round for the first time since 2017 but struggled physically. Murray played the longest match of his career in his previous match against Thanasi Kokkinakis which lasted five hours and 45 minutes. He also needed almost five hours to beat 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in the opening round of the tournament.
It was clear that the gruelling contests had taken its toll on Murray who underwent hip surgery in 2019. He had blisters on his feet from his opening two marathon matches and said he was suffering from lower back pain which effected his serving.
Murray will take encouragement in how he performed in the tournament and will be hoping to go further in the French Open & Wimbledon in the upcoming months.