Australian Open: Djokovic serves up another masterclass clinic_1


The cream is rising to the top on the men's side of the Australian Open draw, with reigning champ Novak Djokovic acknowledging his serving game is holding up.

While fans were shocked at womens' favourite Serena Williams' exit from the tournament, Djokovic made no mistakes as he up a fourth-round encounter with Diego Schwartzman with a clinical win on Friday afternoon over Yoshihito Nishioka.

The No.2 seed breezed through the third-round clash, registering a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over the Japanese in just one hour and 25 minutes.

It's the 13th time the Serb has made it to the last 16 at Melbourne Park as he chases a record-extending eighth crown.

Djokovic himself marvelled at only giving away just one point on serve in the first two sets.

"If it happened [before], it didn't happen too many times," he said. "Definitely one of the best serving matches I've had lately."

Fourteenth seed Schwartzman will present a very different challenge to the left-handed Nishioka as Djokovic eyes off a quarter-final against either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Roberto Bautista Agut.

"He is one of the quickest player on the tour," Djokovic said of the Argentine. "Obviously right-handed so I'm going to have to prepare a bit different tactics than I have today.

The match against Schwartzman will also be the 16-time grand slam winner's 50th in the fourth round at a major.

He also told the media about his "plant-based" diet which he attributes to his good form.
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Meanwhile, Australian Open favourite Ashleigh Barty has warned her rivals to bring their A-game if they wish to stop her from breaking the country's 42-year title drought.

As seven-times champion Serena Williams bombed out on Friday, Barty delivered her most impressive performance of the summer to roar into the fourth round with a steely 6-3 6-2 win over big-hitting youngster Elena Rybakina.

"I felt I needed to be switched on. A lot of the games were long and tough and I'm happy to get out of them," Barty said.

The world No.1 then declared she was only just warming up for the business week at Melbourne Park.

I know if a player is going to beat me, they're going to have to play a very high-quality match for a long period of time."

Barty next plays 18th seed Alison Riske, the American who knocked the French Open champion out of Wimbledon at the same stage last year.

Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova remains Barty's projected last-eight hurdle after storming into the second week without dropping a set.

But there'll be no Williams in the semi-finals following the American's shock 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 7-5 loss to Wang Qiang.

For now, though, Barty is only concerned about her next match on Sunday after Riske eliminated the Australian's doubles partner Julia Goerges with a 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 comeback win over the German.

Riske pulled off one of the upsets of 2019 when she rallied from a set down last July at the All England Club to snap Barty's 15-match European winning streak that propelled her to world No.1 for the first time.

"Obviously if you have played someone, you can draw on some of those experiences," Barty said.

"But, yeah, absolutely nothing changes. I'm still here, it's all good."

-with AAP