Novak Djokovic continued his dominant form at the Italian Open, eliminating Cameron Norrie in straight sets of 6-3, 6-4 in the last-16 stage. The victory solidified Djokovic’s incredible record of never having lost before the quarter-finals in Rome. The world No 1’s next challenge will come in the quarter-finals against the winner of the match between Australia’s Alexei Popyrin and Denmark’s Holger Rune.
Although the match itself was mostly one-sided, the most talked-about moment occurred during the fourth game of the second set. As Norrie attempted to recover from an early break, Djokovic turned his back on the play after offering his opponent an easy smash.
In an unexpected turn of events, Norrie unintentionally drilled the ball into Djokovic’s legs. This led to an intense exchange of icy stares between the players, adding an edge to the contest. However, despite the incident, Norrie was unable to mount a significant threat against Djokovic, only managing to land a glancing blow.
Having lost their previous encounters, Norrie faced an uphill battle from the start. Djokovic demonstrated his tactical brilliance throughout the match, keeping Norrie at arm’s length and maintaining control. The British No 1, resilient after the smash incident, managed to hold his serve until 4-4 in the second set.
However, Djokovic made a decisive move at that point, breaking Norrie’s serve and securing his spot in the quarter-finals. Although Djokovic’s serve seemed slower than usual, he remained tight-lipped about the reason for his visit to the treatment room earlier in the day. Expressing optimism, he hoped to feel even better for his upcoming matches, implying that he was determined to continue his impressive run in the tournament.