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Tennis: Djokovic feels great as he powers into quarters

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Defending champion Novak Djokovic said he was constantly improving after reaching his 19th straight Grand Slam quarter-final with an easy victory over Italian Fabio Fognini at the Australian Open on Sunday.

The Serbian second seed coasted to a 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 victory over the 15th-seeded Fognini in one hour 33 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Only Roger Federer (36) and Jimmy Connors (27) have more consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final appearances than Djokovic.

The Serb, who is bidding for a fifth Australian title and his seventh Grand Slam, stretched his unbeaten match run to 28 since his US Open triumph in New York last September.

He will face either Swiss eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka or 17th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo in the quarters.

In a one-sided contest, Djokovic broke Fognini's service six times from 22 break point opportunities and hit 33 winners past the at times lackadaisical Italian.

Djokovic, who has been friends with Fognini since their junior playing days in Europe, maintained his focus as the Italian played to the crowd and performed with little intensity.

"I knew that he's a flashy kind of player that if he feels good, if he's focused enough, he can be very dangerous opponent on any surface," Djokovic said.

"He's playing the best tennis of his life in last year and a half and he can challenge anybody.

"So I did not take anything really for granted. I went out there preparing for this match as well as I do for any."

Djokovic said he played a great match and didn't allow Fognini to take control of the rallies. He now leads the Italian 7-0 in their encounters.

"I've felt from the start of this tournament that I've been elevating my game. Every match is better," the Serb said.

"The general feeling on the court, all the shots, using the court position really well, being aggressive, playing my style of the game.

"That's what I've done really well today overall from the first to the last point. I haven't allowed my opponent to come back to the match.

"Mentally I was there. I was tough. I was focused. I feel great about myself at the moment."

It will be Djokovic's seventh straight quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open and extends his unbeaten run to 25 matches at Melbourne Park.

The second seed is looking to become just the second man behind Roy Emerson to win four consecutive Australian Open titles.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140119/tennis-djokovic-feels-great-he-powers-quarters