Defending champion Novak Djokovic set up a semi-final showdown with 'Big Three' rival Roger Federer at the Australian Open on Tuesday with a thumping 6-4 6-3 7-6 (1-7) victory over Canada's hapless Milos Raonic.
Federer had saved seven match points in a five-set thriller with American battler Tennys Sandgren only hours before but there was no such luck of a second successive belter for the fans at Rod Laver Arena, with Djokovic at his ruthless best.
The floodlit match between Raonic, one of the tour's most vexing servers, against one of its most brilliant returners had promised, at the least, an intriguing clash of styles.
Yet, barring a third set lull for Djokovic as he struggled with his contact lenses, it was a stroll for the second seeded Serb who dismantled the Canadian's power game to book an eighth semi-final at his Melbourne Park fortress.
An emotional Novak Djokovic speaks post-match
[Kobe Bryant's death] caught us by surprise. He is one of the greatest athletes of all time. He inspired myself and many others. I was fortunate to have a personal relationship with him. when I needed advice and support he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend. It is heart-breaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter.
Djokovic also extended congratulations to his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, who was inducted into the international tennis hall of fame this week.
He is a legend of our sport and has been very close to me in my career. I've known him since I was 12 years old. I'm honoured to have him in my team.
On today's win and the upcoming challenge of Roger Federer, the Serbian added:
It was a great performance. This is my favourite court and I love being here. Raonic has one of the fastest serves and it's difficult to read. I tried to mix it up, looking for his backhand. All in all, it was a good match from my side.
Roger is one of the all-time greats. The matches against him and Rafa have made me the player I am today. I hope I get to at least one match point against Roger!
He is who is, and what he did today was amazing, but let the better player win.
GAME, SET, MATCH DJOKOVIC Raonic 4-6 3-6 6-7 Djokovic
A Raonic forehand falters and that is that.
Federer is next for Djokovic in the semi-final following this straight sets victory.
The tie-break victory of the third was typical Djokvic: efficient, ruthlessly effective, and indefatigable.
Raonic 4-6 3-6 6-6 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Raonic gets off the mark following an uncharacteristic Djokovic error, but then the Serb comes to the net.
It's too good for Raonic, whose attempted passing lob is wayward.
Djokovic serves with venom - the match is slipping away from Raonic.
6-1 Djokovic. He's won 10 of the last 11 points.
Raonic 4-6 3-6 6-6 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Tiebreak it is.
And Djokovic breaks immediately from a Raonic unforced error. A pulsating serve that Raonic could not return gives him a 2-0 lead, before the Serbian pulls the Canadian one way then the other to find space for a winner, keeping the ball low.
3-0 Djokovic. What a start.
Raonic 4-6 3-6 6-6 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Raonic hits his first two into the net, both single-handed slices, as Djokovic cruises to 30-0.
A sumptuous drop-shot from Djokovic follows, before Raonic skies one.
We're heading for a tie-break.
Raonic 4-6 3-6 6-5 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Djokovic attempts to manoeuvre a Raonic second serve off his backhand down the line, but it's misjudged and and is wide.
The Serbian seems to have asked a photographer - in forthright fashion - to stop, as Raonic feathers two backhands in succession into the net. A great response from the Canadian, however, as he stumps up an ace.
An unforced error and a winner from Raonic follow to leave deuce. Djokovic finds a deep backhand to draw advantage, before Raonic's serve gets him back to level-pegging.
Another Raonic unforced error gives Djokovic a break point. Raonic saves it with another big serve, but falters on deuce again to give Djokovic another shot. And again. Yo-yo.
Raonic hits a few aces to take an advantage, but he cannot put the nail in the coffin.
He finally does it, though - saving four break points!
Raonic* 4-6 3-6 5-5 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
Djokovic still seems to be struggling with his eyes, but it doesn't stop him racing to 30-0, before Raonic claws a point back with a large smash.
Djokovic nets a backhand slice but then the slightest of aces - it was in by millimetres - gives him a point to hold.
But the Serbian skews a forehand into the crowd, to bring about deuce. A thrashing serve gives him advantage, before a cross-court forehand winner ties the scores at 5-5 after a long rally.
Raonic 4-6 3-6 5-4 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Djokovic is doing a lot of blinking and, if that is helping, he should do some more, as Raonic does not seem in the slightest bit put off as he races to 40-0, courtesy of an ace and two more probing serves that Djokovic can only flail at.
Another ace seals it. Great concentration from the Canadian.
And we're underway. Odd.
It's an official medical timeout
What is it for? Contact lenses...?
Raonic* 4-6 3-6 4-4 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
Raonic caresses a forehand winner after it sits up nicely for him thanks to a net ricochet.
But Djokovic is unflustered, racing back to 40-15 with a winner and an unforced error from the Canadian.
An ace from the Serbian gives him the game, and now he's in a spot of bother with his contact lenses.
He's going off court and Raonic looks a bit bemused. Could he not have waited until the end of the set?
More from that earlier protest...
John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova have protested against Margaret Court, demanding that her court is renamed as Evonne Goolagong Arena.
Raonic 4-6 3-6 4-3 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
More urgency from Djokovic in this one, trying to get after Raonic's serve to find that all-important break.
He gets to 30-30, thanks in part to a delightful, curving forehand winner down the line, but an Exocet serve from Raonic gets him on the front foot.
Djokovic's break attempt ends in a whimper, too, with a damp forehand slice barely making the net.
Raonic* 4-6 3-6 3-3 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
There seems to be a slight momentum shift here, with Raonic clearly buoyed by his serving attainment.
Djokovic has to fight tooth-and-nail to 30-15, clinching it with a thunderous backhand winner, before Raonic sends the Serbian left-then-right, turning him inside and out to bring it back to 30-30.
But the Serbian pushes on for the game after a Raonic unforced error.
It's still a win for Djokovic, but it's not quite as plain sailing as it was half an hour ago. He remains unbroken, however.
Raonic 4-6 3-6 3-2 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Serve-volleying from Raonic reaps immediate rewards as Djokovic puts too much on an attempted volley, before a thrashing forehand winner gives the Canadian 30-0.
Raonic's serve is too big for Djokovic, and he eases to victory in this game; his first love hold in the match.
Raonic* 4-6 3-6 2-2 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
For just the second time in the match, Raonic wins the opening point on the Djokovic serve, with ambition and intent, coming to the net with too much force for the Serbian.
Djokovic finds a forehand winner, but Raonic finds great depth on his return to move into the lead.
Wow, wow, wow - crazy good from the defending champion. He scoops a lob from behind him over Raonic's head, before following up with a powerful backhand that the Canadian cannot return.
But a Djokovic backhand collides with the net to bring deuce. He takes advantage, however, with powerful, accurate groundstroking before a wayward backhand slice from Raonic allows Djokovic to hold.
That was slightly less comfortable for the Serbian.
Raonic 4-6 3-6 2-1 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Raonic remains comfortable on his own serve, and this game was no different.
Another winner, and three points featuring just one shot.
Below are the stats thus far:
Raonic* 4-6 3-6 1-1 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
Both men trade unforced errors to get to 15-15, before Djokovic's serve asks too much of Raonic.
Raonic hits his 30th clean winner - a slapped forehand away from Djokovic's right - to tie the scores. And Djokovic is inaccurate with the backhand, giving the Canadian just his second break point of the match.
No doubt from Djokovic, whose serve is too good for Raonic, who can only return into the net. A Serbian ace diminishes any threat of a scare.
Raonic 4-6 3-6 1-0 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Raonic has his back against the wall but, if there is to be a miraculous comeback, shooting into a 30-0 lead is the right way to go about it.
Djokovic pulls it back to 40-30 after a couple of Canadian unforced errors.
But Raonic's serve continues to define him - positively - and he takes an early lead in the third set. Up to 12 aces now.
Djokovic is motoring
Raonic* 4-6 3-6 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
A 16-stroke rally provides intensity with which Raonic is unable to cope. Another rally - interceded by another shrewd Djokovic challenge - gives the Serbian a lead, before a wide serve results in three set points.
And that's the set. A poor challenge from the Serbian gives Raonic hope, but Djokovic's following serve is too good and now the Canadian has a mountain to climb.
Raonic 4-6 3-5 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
What a way to start a must-win game from Raonic - a rocket of an ace - before guiding a forehand volley away from the attention of Djokovic.
40-0 arrives, too, after another Raonic winner, but Djokovic digs in with a lengthy return that the Canadian can't handle. He is still yet to have a love service game.
But there's no sign of a break, with Djokovic's attempted return flying off the racket at a curious angle. Out, despite the Serbian's challenge, and Raonic survives - temporarily at least.
Raonic* 4-6 2-5 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
Too good again from Djokovic, racing to 40-0 with probing serves that Raonic can barely get a racket to, followed by a sublime drop shot that dies in front of the onrushing Canadian.
But Raonic fights back - a magical backhand passing shot getting him back to 40-30. That was witchcraft.
Djokovic is long with a forehand and we have deuce. A stunning challenge from Raonic keeps us at deuce after a ball, called in, is out by a whisker. One of the closest I've ever seen.
There's a ding-dong between advantage and deuce, before Raonic's trusty forehand lets him down, crashing into the net to put Djokovic one game away from a two-set lead.
Raonic 4-6 2-4 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Another unforced error from Raonic gives Djokovic an early lead, but the Canadian rallies with an ace and some well placed groundstrokes to move to 40-15.
After a brief fightback, a searing Raonic ace gives him the game and...new balls please.
Stats so far
Look at those unforced errors...
Raonic* 4-6 1-4 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
Stunning serving from Djokovic gives Raonic no respite - he's at 30-0 after less than a minute.
Oh and he is motoring. A superbly-placed, lengthy forehand deceives the Canadian to take it to 40-0, before a forehand smash gives Djokovic the game in rapid time.
Raonic 4-6 1-3 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Djokovic's cross-court forehand is causing Raonic some issues, and it is that which spearheads the Serbian into a 30-15 lead on the Canadian's serve.
But Raonic gets back to level-pegging with a delicious forehand winner that skids away from Djokovic's left. The Serbian comes to the net with the next point and an angled backhand volley drop-shot gives him a break point, which is saved by another Canadian forehand winner.
Raonic's first (!) meaningful serve-and-volley attempt fails to give Djokovic advantage, but another deft groundstroke keeps Raonic in the hunt.
But the Canadian cannot stops the 12th break point of the match thus far for Djokovic - he's won only one so far - but he makes no mistakes with a passing forehand winner.
Djokovic applying the eyedrops between sets
Raonic* 4-6 1-2 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
Djokovic races to 30-0 but it stirs a reaction from Raonic who, after a Djokovic unforced error, hits a forehand winner to level at 30-30.
But the Canadian does little to attack the defending champion's second serve, and Djokovic wins two straight points to hold - with comfort, in the end.
Raonic 4-6 1-1 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
A member of the crowd doesn't want to give a ball back - Raonic looks distinctly unimpressed. He gets over it, however, with his serve propelling him into a 40-15 lead.
An ace finishes it, and that was better from the Canadian. He still looks susceptible when the game breaks down and develops into a rally, but when he's able to steer the game to where he wants it - through his serve - he still looks a tricky adversary.
Raonic* 4-6 0-1 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
Djokovic continues his perfect service-game record, he has also won three games in a row.
Raonic pushes him early, however, but an ace from Serbian puts him in the driving seat.
Djokovic's service games are lasting 2 mins 3 secs on average; Raonic's 6m 30s...
Raonic 4-6 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Raonic opens up with a double-fault for the second service game in a row and, in a flash, Djokovic is at 30-0 - is this his moment?
The Canadian closes the door again, with a delicate volley inspiring a comeback to 30-30.
Djokovic's attempted backhand winner is long, giving Raonic a game point, but he cannot convert, missing a sitter of a half-volley with Djokovic in no-man's land.
The Serbian serves-and-volleys to perfection to earn a set point, but a big serve from Raonic dashes his hopes.
Djokovic comes back though, with some manipulating groundstrokes which are too good for the Canadian. Raonic saves another game point with a forehand winner, but then a double-fault lets Djokovic back in to this marathon game - a real cliffhanger.
And that's the first set for Djokovic. A real ding-dong - a 54-minute set - but Raonic's forehand falters and Djokovic goes one up.
Raonic* 4-5 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
They both speak Serbian, but you won't need a translator to understand Djokovic's "Bravo" as Raonic hits a pinpoint, backhand, cross-court winner.
No danger for the Serbian, however, who clears up to hold in emphatic fashion, despite Raonic's stunning shot.
Pressure on Raonic to hold here - he's been leaking break points but has saved every one thus far.
Raonic 4-4 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Another double fault for Raonic gives Djokovic early hope, but that is quashed by two Raonic points in quick succession, following wide serving.
The Canadian butchers the simplest of winners, however, smashing a forehand into the net with Djokovic completely out the picture, before an unbelievable sliced backhand gives the Serbian another break point.
But you'll have to do better than that, says Raonic, who holds after a ding-dong between deuce and advantage. There was a searing forehand winner in there from the Canadian.
Raonic* 3-4 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
Djokovic continues his service game dominance, racing to 30-0, before Raonic shows some oomph, whipping a forehand winner down the line for his first point on Djokovic's serve.
Djokovic crashes two into the net and suddenly it's he who is under the cosh. Break point for Raonic.
But the defending champion's serve is as good as an ace; Raonic can barely get his racket to it.
And Djokovic tidies up to hold after a mini scare.
Raonic 3-3 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Raonic is struggling with his first serve, his biggest weapon, and after the earlier accuracy issues he seems to have taken some of the pace off, which is just inviting Djokovic to attack.
A thumping rally - Djokovic really keeping Raonic at bay with some great length - gives the Serbian a 30-0 lead, before a quickfire double from the Canadian gets him back level.
Djokovic hits a gorgeous passing shot across Raonic to give him a fourth break point but, once again, Djokovic cannot capitalise due to a sloppy backhand.
There's a helicopter overhead, too, and Raonic seems distracted, but he holds serve after another speedy ace and a Serbian unforced error.
Raonic* 2-3 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
12 straight points won on serve for Djokovic; Raonic can barely fire a shot. The pick of the Serbian's moments is a gliding, wrong-footing forehand down the line that Raonic can only watch.
Three love service games for the defending champion.
Raonic 2-2 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
The big Canadian opens with a piercing ace, before a double-fault - rare for him - lets Djokovic back in.
Raonic fires a serve into Djokovic's body, which the Serbian swats back impressively and Raonic cannot return.
Djokovic earns the match's first break point after more sloppy Raonic first-serving, but the Canadian pulls out the punch serve to save.
Djokovic takes the advantage, with a thrilling rally ending with Raonic unable to return Djokovic's lob at the net. The Canadian fights back once again, however, tying the game at deuce and then unleashing another howitzer serve.
Raonic* 1-2 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
Neither man is able to get a hold of the other's serve here, with Djokovic once again racing to 40-0 after barely having to play any shots. A couple of simple winners follow a Raonic error.
Two love service holds for the defending champion.
Raonic 1-1 Djokovic* (*denotes next to serve)
Efficient serving from Raonic; his known strength. His opener gets Djokovic stretching like Armstrong before the simplest of down-the-line winners. He wrong-foots Djokovic after some softer shots from the Serbian, before Djokovic crashes a return into the net.
All second serves from Raonic - encouraging signs, but he'd hope for more accuracy on his first.
Raonic* 0-1 Djokovic (*denotes next to serve)
An immaculate start from Djokovic - he's in great nick, isn't he.
He races to 30-0 after Raonic falters, before the cutest drop-shot puts him in the driving seat.
Djokovic wins to love. Emphatic.
Raonic vs Djokovic
Both players are out on court.
Here we go, Djokovic to serve.
Federer's Australian dominance
Five minute warning
In five minutes, Milos Raonic and Novak Djokovic will be on court.
If you're just getting to work, grab yourself a cuppa and settle in.
If you have the day off, grab yourself a cuppa and settle in.
If you don't like hot drinks, don't grab yourself a cuppa - but do settle in!
In case you missed this nugget of news...
John McEnroe has hit out at Margaret Court, branding her the 'crazy aunt' of tennis as she is commemorated at the Australian Open.
Court walked out onto a half-full Rod Laver Arena at around 6.45pm on Monday, receiving a round of applause as a video played on the big screen with details of her four major victories in 1970, complete with a recorded interview in which she choked up as she said “It wasn’t for me, it was for my nation. It still brings tears to my eyes.”
But McEnroe was less than impressed.
"There’s only one thing longer than the list of Margaret Court’s tennis achievements. It’s her list of offensive and homophobic statements.
"Just a few examples. During the apartheid regime in South Africa, she said: ‘I love South Africa. They have the racial situation better organized than anyone else’. What? About transgender children and LGBTIQ: ‘It’s all the work of the devil… tennis is full of lesbians… it is sad for children to be exposed to homosexuality.’”
Martina Navratilova also joined McEnroe's criticism, with both calling for the Margaret Court Arena to be renamed this morning, forcing Tennis Australia to release this statement.
Punchy response from Tennis Australia to this morning’s protest by Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe, who called for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed in honour of Evonne Goolagong. Earlier, the TV feed from 1573 Arena was cut off when Navratilova started her speech pic.twitter.com/XNz86o5mkV— Simon Briggs (@simonrbriggs) January 28, 2020
Obviously it won’t happen.— David Law (@DavidLawTennis) January 28, 2020
But obviously Federer wouldn’t save 7 match points while injured.
So Imagine if Raonic took out Djokovic.
More reaction from Federer's remarkable victory
Raonic and Djokovic are yet to appear on-court, so in the meantime, let's revel in more Federer candour.
Federer's winning moment
Raonic v Djokovic follows, and Roger plays the winner.
Federer's done it!
It finishes Sandgren 3-6 6-2 6-2 6-7 (8-10) 3-6 Federer. The Swiss saved seven match points, and here's what he said after the victory:
He played his match and I got incredibly lucky. As the match went on, I started to feel better [after the injury] and the pressure went away and I just tried to play.
I don't deserve this one but I'm standing here now and I'm obviously very happy.
I have played a lot of tennis throughout my life, and sometimes you feel a little funny - my leg started to tighten up. I don't like calling the trainer ever - a sign of weakness or something.
But I believe in miracles - there could be rain here...
My groin was just stiff and tight so I thought I'd let him finish me off in style - but he didn't do that. I was incredibly lucky - I tried make the most of it.
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of the Australian Open quarter-final between Milos Raonic and Novak Djokovic in Melbourne.
Milos Raonic's perfect record at Melbourne Park this year - four straight-sets victories, including a third-round win over No 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas - is in for a serious quarterfinal test against a guy he's never beaten in nine attempts. That would be defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Raonic has made a strong start to the year after missing a good portion of play in 2019 with knee, hamstring and back issues. The former world No 3's ranking blew out to 35 because of his injury troubles. But he's back in fine form, particularly in the biggest part of his game. He's won 59 games in a row on his serve.
"Milos is one of the tallest, strongest players on tour and has one of the biggest serves," Djokovic said. "I've got to be ready for missiles coming from his side of the net. One key element will be how well I'm returning."
Raonic has been to the quarter-finals in Melbourne five times, but only advanced to the semis once, when he lost to Andy Murray in five sets in 2016. If he gets to the final four this year he'll have to beat the seven-time champion at Melbourne Park.
"I'm going to have to serve well clearly, and then I think I'm going to have to get my return at a high percentage," he said. "I think we play quite opposite from each other, and he's done a good job in the past neutralising my serve."
Meanwhile, Roger Federer is on the bring of a semi-final spot, having saved seven (yes, seven) match points against Tennys Sandgren. The Swiss magician was also playing injured, but has not retired hurt in over 1,400 matches.