Novak Djokovic overcame a shaky start to beat Quentin Halys of France on Thursday and reach the quarterfinals of the Adelaide International, intensifying his preparations for the Australian Open.
The top seed from Serbia won 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5) and will face Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinals.
Djokovic returned to the scene of his 2007 title run on Tuesday with a comfortable two-set victory over Constant Lestienne of France.
He backed that up against Lestienne’s doubles partner Halys, but was slow to get going, falling 2-5 in the first set before pulling out the win.
“Today was a great performance from my opponent,” said Djokovic, 35, who is preparing for a match for his 10th Australian Open title after missing out on last year’s Grand Slam when he was deported for his vaccination status. .
“He played like a top 10 player today.
“It was difficult to break his serve because he was hitting his points and he was being very precise, and also with great serves,” he added.
“Proud to be able to overcome a challenge like this. I think winning two tiebreakers is always good for the confidence level at the start of the year.”
With the crowd firmly behind the former world number one on a packed Center Court, Djokovic, who won Wimbledon among five titles last year, lost his first service game against the 64th-ranked Frenchman.
She earned two break points in game three but failed to convert, biding her time until game seven, when she broke to love and then ran through the tiebreaker.
Nothing separated them in the second set, which again went to a tiebreaker, after Halys saved two match points at 5-4, with Djokovic ultimately prevailing when Halys hit a backhand.
Djokovic’s reward is a clash with world number 18 Shapovalov, who reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin.
Djokovic has won all seven previous meetings with the Canadian.
Shapovalov is still riding the wave of leading Canada to the Davis Cup title and said he was determined to maintain his good form.
“I’m definitely trying to implement that on the individual side. Obviously so far it’s been a great start. Hopefully I can capitalize on a good start to the week and I’m definitely excited for what’s to come,” she said.
American Sebastian Korda progressed by beating Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 to set up a clash with defending Adelaide champion Thanasi Kokkinakis or Jannik Sinner.
– Azarenka triumphs –
In the women’s draw, Czech teenager Linda Noskova defeated American Claire Liu 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals, where she will play two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka.
“She is a great talent. I feel like she’s going to be a very, very good player,” Azarenka said of promising Chinese player Zheng Qinwen after using her experience to beat her 6-2, 7-5.
“But I thought I stuck to my game plan pretty well today.”
Former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko lost 6-3, 6-0 to Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, who will next face Russian world number nine Veronika Kudermetova.