Novak Djokovic has made light work of Italian 15th seed Fabio Fognini to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Djokovic’s 6-3 6-0 6-2 win over 93 minutes continued a dominant week for the Open favourite, who is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park.
The Serb won the opening set with a solitary break and without statistical domination but stepped up his game emphatically from the second set.
From the fourth deuce of the opening game, Djokovic won 14 of the next 15 points to surge to 4-0 and effectively end the contest.
A mesmerising mid-air swipe in the next game akin to a scene from The Matrix typified Djokovic’s status as the chosen one, with Fognini powerless to resist.
Despite the match slipping away from him, the brash Italian hammed it up on the centre court stage, joking with the crowd and hitting powerful winners when the few opportunities arose.
Djokovic, who counts Fognini as one of his oldest friends on tour, said maintaining his focus was crucial to the win.
“Obviously I wanted to laugh at his jokes but I didn’t want to have any lapse in concentration,” he said.
“It’s never easy but I think I played a great match from the beginning to the end.”
“Mentally I was there. I was tough. I was focused. I feel great about myself in this moment.”
Djokovic celebrated the win by sending up his new coach Boris Becker to the delight of the capacity Rod Laver Arena crowd.
Joining Djokovic in the last eight is Spanish third seed David Ferrer, who did it tougher against German journeyman Florian Mayer.
Ferrer took just under three hours to defeat Mayer 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-2 6-1 and book his ninth straight grand slam quarter-final appearance.
After losing the first set in a tiebreak in which Ferrer admonished himself, Ferrer raced to a 4-0 second set lead with ten winners before Mayer had made one.
Mayer having already eliminated two seeds from the tournament, again made himself a menace reeling in Ferrer’s lead to draw level at 5-5 before succumbing to the Spaniard’s consistency and foot speed to lose the set 7-5.
Ferrer put the foot down from that point, scorching a series of trademark running winners to close out the match in four sets.
Ferrer described the win as his best match at the tournament, and will play big-serving Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals after the seventh seeded Czech beat South African Kevin Anderson 6-2 6-2 6-3.
Against Anderson, the 19th seed, Berdych continued a remarkable run of service holds – 52 and counting – to keep alive his outside hopes of winning a maiden grand slam.