Novak Djokovic continued his march towards a record-extending eighth Australian Open title with a 6-4 6-3 7-6 victory over big-serving Canadian, Milos Raonic in the quarter finals on Tuesday night.
Djokovic and Raonic went into Tuesday’s encounter having not dropped a set in the previous four rounds, but the world No. 2 was far too good for the resurgent Canadian, taking the win after two hours and 49 minutes.
The seven-time champion progresses to his 37th Grand Slam semi-final, an eighth at the Australian Open. His great returning was again a feature of Tuesday’s victory, while he constantly had Raonic under pressure with his unerring length and precision in offence, and remarkable athleticism in defence. The 32-year-old is looking in ominous form as he approaches the business end of the 2020 Australian Open.
“I felt great on the court. Thought I was very focused in the first couple of sets, one break was enough each set,” Djokovic said. “Quite comfortable serving, that was very encouraging serving, I thought that would be two key elements in the game – the return, get him moving around the court and secondly, how efficiently I’d hit my spots on the court … It was a great performance.”
While Djokovic constantly applied pressure on Raonic’s serve, the Serbian was secure behind his own deliveries, winning 86% of points on his first serves and saving the two break points he faced. The 32-year-old hit 29 winners and just 14 errors in a characteristically clean performance.
Raonic had faced just seven break points across his first four matches in Melbourne, but his huge serve was always likely to come under more scrutiny against Djokovic, arguably the finest returner on the tour. The former world No. 3 faced nine break points in the first set alone, and while he fended off the first eight, he finally bowed to the pressure, dropping his serve for the first time in the tournament in a lengthy 10th game to concede the opening set.
Djokovic broke again at 2-1 in the second set, and would soon serve out a two-set lead to edge closer to a tenth win in ten meetings against Raonic.
The Canadian fought hard in the third set, saving four more break points at 5-5, but he was a distant second best in the tie break, as Djokovic clinically put him away to take the match, and set up a semi-final meeting with Roger Federer.
Whenever Djokovic has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, he has gone on to win the title.