MELBOURNE (Agencies): Defending champion Novak Djokovic came through a stiff test of his fitness as he moved into the Australian Open quarter-finals, but third seed Dominic Thiem was stunned by Grigor Dimitrov.
Bulgarian Dimitrov, a semi-finalist in 2017, dismantled the US Open champion of Austria 6-4 6-4 6-0. World number one Djokovic, struggling with an abdominal injury picked up on Friday, beat Milos Raonic in four sets.
The Serbian eight-time Australian Open champion won 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-1 6-4. “In any other tournament than a Grand Slam I would have retired from the event, but because it’s a Grand Slam I wanted to give my best,” Djokovic, 33, said.
“I didn’t know if I was going to play or not. During the match it [the injury] was on and off, it’s still not ideal but I can’t complain and won against a great player. Hopefully it will be even better in two days.
“There was no preparation for this match, I used every single hour I had to recover and put myself in a position where I could compete. My physio has done a great job and I want to thank my team and the ATP physios for being here for me. “I’ve definitely been fitter but I’m taking each day at a time and for me training is just recovery.”
He will play sixth seed Alexander Zverev after the German beat Djokovic’s compatriot Dusan Lajovic 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-3. Dimitrov, the 18th seed, will face Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev, who stunned Felix Auger-Aliassime as his dream Grand Slam debut continued.