Tim Henman labels Novak Djokovic as clear Australian Open favorite



© Julian Finney / Staff – Getty Images Sport

Tim Henman liked what he saw from Novak Djokovic against Adrian Mannarino, labeling the Serb as the clear Australian Open favorite. A ten-time Melbourne Park winner ousted Mannarino 6-0, 6-0, 6-3 in the fourth round, playing well from start to finish and sailing into the last eight.

Novak will face Taylor Fritz in a battle for the semi-final, hoping for another strong performance against a dangerous rival. Mannarino beat three rivals in five sets en route to the fourth round, losing steam and dropping the opening 13 games against Djokovic, facing a triple bagel!

The French veteran raised his level in the third set, losing serve once and sending the Serb over the top. Novak raised his level after struggling with the virus in the opening two rounds in Melbourne. The defending champion looked better against Tomas Martin Etcheverry, and there was nothing wrong with his game against Mannarino.

Djokovic fired 17 aces and defended three break chances in sets one and two.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Daniel Pockett / Stringer – Getty Images Sport

Tim Henman sees Novak Djokovic as a player to beat in Melbourne.

Novak turned 57% of the return points into seven breaks from 11 chances, delivering two bagels in 67 minutes before slowing down a bit.

Adrian had a chance to create an early advantage, earning two break points in the encounter’s first game. Djokovic erased them with winners and held, avoiding an early setback. Novak created three break chances in the second game, seizing the third with a volley winner and forging the advantage.

The Serb opened a 3-0 gap and grabbed another break a few minutes later after the Frenchman’s backhand error. Novak produced a hold at love in game five, extending his advantage and forcing Adrian to serve to stay in the set.

Djokovic caused Mannarino’s mistake in the sixth game, wrapping up a perfect set in 33 minutes. Novak kept the same pace in set number two, breaking Adrian in the second game and saving a break point at 2-0 to extend his streak after an ace.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff – Getty Images Sport

With nothing working his way, the French veteran lost serve for the fifth time in a row, propelling the Serb 6-0, 4-0 in front in no time.

Djokovic held at love with an ace in game five and delivered another break at 5-0 after Mannarino’s backhand error, providing a double bagel after 67 minutes! Novak served well in the third set, but he did not seek a break in every return game, slowing down and offering Adrian to experience a decent defeat.

Mannarino held in game two, celebrating after ending his downfall. However, he sprayed a forehand error in the fourth game, falling 3-1 behind and pushing Djokovic closer to the top. Novak landed powerful serves for 4-1, and Adrian grabbed another service game with a service winner.

Djokovic opened a 5-2 gap with an ace in game seven, with Mannarino reducing the deficit to 5-3. The Serb served for the victory in game nine, producing a hold at love and securing a place in his 14th Australian Open quarter-final.



Source link: https://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/Novak_Djokovic/141992/tim-henman-labels-novak-djokovic-as-clear-australian-open-favorite/

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