Andy Roddick places safe bet on Novak Djokovic

Like many others, Andy Roddick was impressed with what he saw from Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open fourth round. The American praised the Serb after his dominant 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Alex de Minaur, labeling Novak as the top favorite to win the title. Djokovic is seeking his tenth Australian Open crown, although dark clouds were gathering over his campaign in the opening three rounds. Novak experienced a hamstring injury on his left leg in Adelaide, winning the title but still feeling the pain in Melbourne. Djokovic passed Roberto Carballes Baena in the first match, delivering two breaks in the opening two sets and producing a bagel in the third. Novak felt pain in the second set against a qualifier Enzo Couacaud. He lost it in the tie break before shifting into a higher gear and sealing the deal with his second bagel of the week. Things did not look good for the Serb after the Grigor Dimitrov clash, struggling increasingly and requiring a medical timeout.

Grigor had his chances in the marathon opening set before Djokovic took control in the second and third to bring the victory home and avoid spending more time on the court. Novak did not feel any issues in the fourth round against Alex de Minaur, flying over the court and producing his A-game. Djokovic toppled de Minaur 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in two hours and six minutes, dominating from start to finish to sail into the last eight. Djokovic grabbed half of the return points and kept de Minaur at under ten winners. Novak delivered six breaks from 12 opportunities and never experienced issues behind his initial shot. The Serb hit 26 winners and 27 unforced errors and controlled the pace in the shortest and more advanced rallies to drop only five games and remain on the title course. Novak made a strong start and dropped five points in his games in the opener. Alex stayed in touch in the first four games before fading from the court at Rod Laver Arena.

Andy Roddick names Novak Djokovic the Australian Open favorite.

The Serb broke at love in game six to open a 4-2 advantage and stole the rival’s serve again in game eight to clinch the opener 6-2 in 35 minutes. With everything working his way, Novak lost six points in his games in the second set and left the opponent far behind. Djokovic broke de Minaur in games two and four to build a 6-2, 5-0 advantage in no time after rattling off nine straight games! Alex avoided a bagel with a hold in game six, and Novak fired a backhand crosscourt winner in the next one for 6-2, 6-1 in swift 75 minutes. Eager to seal the deal as soon as possible, the Serb raced into a 4-0 lead in the third set against the powerless opponent. Alex held in game five after deuce and wished for at least some chances on the return. Instead, Djokovic opened a 5-1 gap and forced the rival to serve to stay in the match. Novak created a match point in game seven with a volley winner, and Alex saved it with a powerful serve. The Aussie fired another to bring the game home and prolong the battle. Djokovic served for the victory at 5-2 and held in game eight to sail into the last eight.

“Clinical for Novak. There is just no place to attack him. It will take a Herculean performance from someone to take him out. I do not see it happening,” Andy Roddick said.