Novak Djokovic continues his Australian Open title defence when he meets 14th seed Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round on Sunday.
Novak Djokovic ?? vs Diego Schwartzman ?? Match Info
Date: Sunday January 26
Tournament: Australian Open R16
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Time: 2.00pm local time (3.00am GMT)
Novak Djokovic vs Diego Schwartzman Head-to-Head
Djokovic leads 3-0
2019 | Rome SF | Djokovic 6-3 6-7(2) 6-3
2017 | French Open R32 | Djokovic 5-7 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-1
2014 | US Open R128 | Djokovic 6-1 6-2 6-4
Novak Djokovic vs Diego Schwartzman Match Preview
I don’t know when Novak Djokovic suddenly turned into Ivo Karlovic, but if the defending champion serves like he did during his third round win over Yoshihito Nishioka, then he will be right on track to claim a record-extending eighth Australian Open title on Sunday next week.
Djokovic produced arguably the performance of the tournament on the men’s side, dismantling Nishioka by a 6-3 6-2 6-2 scoreline. But it was the serve that turned heads, with Djokovic firing down 17 aces and losing just eight points in total (54/62). It was simply impossible for Nishioka to make any inroads on the Djokovic serve as he slumped to a straight sets defeat.
Novak Djokovic beats Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the 3rd round at the #AusOpen. 85 minutes.
Nole lost *eight* serve points, half of them in the last game, where he faced his only break point of the match…
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 24, 2020
The seven-time Australian Open champion said he had been working on his serve with coach Goran Ivanisevic during the off-season.
”Definitely one of the best serving matches I’ve had lately [and] inspired by my coach, Goran Ivanisevic,” Djokovic said. “There are a lot of technical details you can talk about, but sometimes less is more. It’s all about the rhythm and balance… So far, it’s been working really well.”
Djokovic will be hoping for a similar serving display against Schwartzman, who actually has the best winning percentage (56.6) when returning second serves on the entire ATP World Tour, while his overall return rating sits in third spot behind Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, according to the official ATP stats.
The World No. 2 knows he will have to be on guard against Schwartzman, who has taken sets from him in their last two meetings, including a five-setter at Roland Garros a few years ago.
“He’s one of the quickest players on Tour,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully my serve can be as good as it was today, or at least close, because then I feel that I have a pretty good chance. I’ve got to be patient, but still aggressive.”
It’s been the perfect start to 2020 for Djokovic, especially after his 2019 ended in disappointing fashion as he relinquished the No. 1 ranking to Nadal, retired at the U.S. Open and lost in the ATP Finals group stage. The 16-time major champion is 9-0 to launch the season after guiding Serbia to the ATP Cup title, where he crushed Nadal in straight sets in the final. Can he dish out another dominant display in the fourth round on Sunday?
Schwartzman will certainly be no pushover. The diminutive Argentine usually finds himself dragged into a lot of first-week battles during slams, mostly because his serve isn’t strong enough to earn him free points, but he’s advanced into the fourth round without dropping a set this week, defeating Adelaide runner-up Lloyd Harris, Next Gen star Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Djokovic’s ATP Cup teammate Dusan Lajovic. Schwartzman’s win over Lajovic was particularly impressive given the Serbian had been in tremendous form after their ATP Cup triumph, but the Argentine managed to dig out a tight third set in a tiebreak to prevail 6-2 6-3 7-6(7).
“I was so lucky at the end. Many times, I was not playing my best in the tie-break, but I’m happy to finish and go to the locker with the second week [result] here,” Schwartzman said in his on-court interview. “I think I was very solid, serving well, and trying to take every opportunity he gave me.”
Schwartzman reached his career-high ranking of No. 11 in 2018 after winning the biggest title of his career at the 500-level Rio Open and making the French Open quarter-finals, where he ended Rafael Nadal’s 38-set winning streak before falling in four. The 27-year-old went on to earn a career-high 40 wins in 2019, highlighted by his third ATP title in Los Cabos, while he also finished runner-up in Vienna and Buenos Aires, made the Rome Masters semi-finals and defeated Alexander Zverev en route to the U.S. Open quarter-finals. Currently ranked No. 14, Schwartzman is positioning himself nicely to break into the top 10 over the next few months if he keeps playing at this level.
Novak Djokovic vs Diego Schwartzman Prediction
Djokovic does almost everything better than Schwartzman, but don’t discount the Argentine here. He’s taken a set off Djokovic in their last two encounters and his returning strength will nullify Djokovic’s new-found serving dominance. Djokovic will win, but Schwartzman is playing good enough to really take it to the defending champion and perhaps even snatch a set – or possibly two – before succumbing.