Novak Djokovic looks to avoid an upset against home favourite Alex de Minaur when they meet in the fourth round Monday at the 2023 Australian Open. Also on Monday’s card is a Rod Laver Arena showdown which will decide the clash of Top-10 seeds Andrey Rublev and Holger Rune. And the Americans look to continue their strong performance in Melbourne, where Tommy Paul, J.J. Wolf, and Ben Shelton are all competing in the round of 16.

ATPTour.com looks at what to watch on Day 8 at Melbourne Park as players bid for a quarter-final spot.

[4] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. [22] Alex de Minaur (AUS)

With a potential 10th Australian Open crown in sight, the fourth seed must first get past a tricky test under the lights on Rod Laver Arena as home hope de Minaur looks to spoil the Serbian’s chances in their first meeting.

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Djokovic, who hasn’t lost in Melbourne since 2018 (did not play in 2022), is bidding to record his 25th consecutive match win at the Australian Open and equal his longest streak of victories at the season’s first Slam.

The 21-time major champion, who has dealt with a hamstring injury since the ATP 250 event in Adelaide earlier this month, has dropped just one set through his first three matches and remains optimistic that the injury won’t hamper his title chances.

“It requires a lot of energy that is being spent from my side mentally and physically,” Djokovic said of his injury problem that’s forced him to play with his left hamstring strapped this fortnight. “To deal with the match with my opponent and also not the ideal physical state. It is what it is. It’s a kind of circumstance that you have to accept. I’m just very grateful that I’m actually able to play. The way it looked just before the tournament started, I thought that it wouldn’t be possible. I’m still here and still holding on.”

Should de Minaur stun Djokovic, the Aussie would equal his best Grand Slam performance (2020 US Open QFs). With the home crowd behind him, de Minaur has reason to believe he can add to this year’s Australian Open upset list. The Sydney native recorded his first victory against a Top-5 opponent in November, when he defeated Daniil Medvedev at the Rolex Paris Masters and followed it up with a win against Rafael Nadal at the season-opening United Cup.

[5] Andrey Rublev vs. [9] Holger Rune (DEN)

After both men cruised through their third-round matches, Monday’s contest is sure to be a thrilling battle from the baseline. On Saturday, Rublev crushed 60 winners to take down Great Britain’s Daniel Evans. The Danish teen will look to counter Rublev’s heavy-hitting with his own power and precision.

Rublev is bidding to reach the quarter-finals of a Slam for a seventh time and second Down Under. A four-time titlist this past season, Rublev produced strong performances in the opening three rounds against 2020 finalist Dominic Thiem, Emil Ruusuvuori, and Evans. Rublev is seeking revenge from this past season, when Rune defeated him at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris en route to collecting the biggest title of his career.

Rune, 19, hasn’t given up a set this tournament. The teenager is aiming to become the youngest man to reach the quarter-finals at the Australian Open since 1990 (Andrey Cherkasov). A 2022 Roland Garros quarter-finalist (l. Ruud), Rune is looking to equal his best Grand Slam performance in just his second appearance in Melbourne.

[24] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs. Tommy Paul (USA)

Although the Spaniard leads the ATP Head2Head series 3-1, ‘RBA’ will seek revenge on Margaret Court Arena after the American won their most recent encounter at the Rolex Paris Masters.

Bautista Agut is bidding to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the second time and equal his best Australian Open result. Should he advance, he would become the fifth Spanish man in the Open Era to reach the quarter-finals at the Australian Open on multiple occasions (Nadal, Ferrer, Moya, Ferrero).

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After cruising through the opening round, Bautista Agut came back from two sets to love down to defeat American Brandon Holt and in the third round the 34-year-old needed three hours, 29 minutes to survive Andy Murray.

Paul looks to carry his momentum from his Saturday victory, when he conceded just eight games to countryman Jenson Brooksby. The World No. 35, who has equalled his best Grand Slam result (Wimbledon 2022), is looking to join Sebastian Korda and the winner of Shelton and Wolf in the quarter-finals. The last time three Americans reached the last eight at the Australian Open was 2000 (Sampras, Agassi, Woodruff).

Ben Shelton (USA) vs. J.J. Wolf (USA)

The all-American clash between Ben Shelton and J.J. Wolf features two former college standouts. The winner will become the fourth man in the past 20 years to reach the quarter-finals on his Australian Open debut. With Sebastian Korda already through to the last eight, it is guaranteed that two American men will reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the first time since 2007.

Shelton, who won the 2022 NCAA singles title at the University of Florida, hopes to continue his dream run in just his second Grand Slam appearance. After surviving a five-set opening round match against Zhang Zhizhen, the American solidified victory in straight sets against Nicolas Jarry and Alexei Popyrin.

Boasting a heavy serve and the ability to hit winners from all corners of the court, Shelton would rise into the Top 50 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings with a victory over his countryman. This past season, the 20-year-old made quick progress on the ATP Challenger Tour and became the youngest player to win three Challenger titles (Charlottesville, Knoxville, Champaign) in as many weeks.

Wolf, 24, is aiming to improve on what is already his best major performance. The former Ohio State University star has given up just one set all week en route to taking out Jordan Thompson, Diego Schwartzman, and Michael Mmoh.

In Doubles Action…

Top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski kick off Kia Arena action against Nikola Cacic and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. On Court 3, third seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arevalo meet Dutch duo Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop. 2020 Australian Open champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury continue their title quest against Polish team Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski.

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