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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

Djokovic destroys Dimitrov to clinch win No 799 and march in to Queen's quarter-finals

Former world No 1 produced an emphatic performance after Kyrgios defeated British hope Edmund

Novak Djokovic was untroubled by Grigor Dimitrov in their second round meeting at Queen's Club on Thursday. Matthew Stockman / Getty Images
Novak Djokovic was untroubled by Grigor Dimitrov in their second round meeting at Queen's Club on Thursday. Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Novak Djokovic swept into the Queen's Club quarter-finals and recorded his 799th career win with a 6-4, 6-1 demolition of Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday.

Djokovic, 31, needed only 67 minutes to crush world No 5 Dimitrov in the second round of the Wimbledon warm-up event.

"Hopefully we can get 800 tomorrow," said the Serb.

If Djokovic is successful in his next match, he will become only the 10th man in the Open era to join the 800-win club.

It was Djokovic's first win over a top 10 player in just over a year and the impressive display suggested he made the right decision to play at Queen's for the first time since 2010.

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Djokovic is a lowly 22nd in the world rankings after a surprise French Open quarter-final defeat against Italian Marco Cecchinato extended his frustrating run in 2018.

Hampered by an elbow injury last year, he has failed to reach the semi-finals in any of his last five grand slam appearances.

Djokovic hasn't earned a major title since competing his career Grand Slam by winning the 2016 French Open.

Speaking after finishing off former Queen's winner Dimitrov, Djokovic admitted his confidence is finally starting to return.

"Grigor made some crucial double faults today that handed me the first set. He loves playing on grass, he's a great quality player," he said.

"Being able to get the first set under he belt was a huge confidence booster for me.

"I made three double faults in the last game and was serving with new balls which usually, on grass, is easier.

"I made it stressful for myself. I'm glad I manage to close it out."

Meanehile, Nick Kyrgios refused to apologise after the controversial Australian's foul-mouthed rant overshadowed his win against Kyle Edmund.

Kyrgios smashed 32 aces in a 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 second round victory, but it was the 23-year-old's verbal volleys that marred his progress to a first Queen's quarter-final.

Although Kyrgios escaped a code violation, the BBC, broadcasting the match live, were forced to apologise after his expletives were picked up by their microphones.

But Kyrgios, who has found himself in hot water for his petulant on-court behaviour on numerous occasions, was unrepentant when quizzed about the swearing.

"Fine. I don't care," he said at a press conference when informed the BBC had issued an apology for his language.

When a reporter asked if he felt he needed to keep his emotions more under control, Kyrgios gave a surly reply.

"Do you swear? Yes or no? Yes or no? Do you swear? Do you swear?," he said.

When the reporter replied that he had been known to, Kyrgios dismissively responded: "OK, great. Good question."

Kyrgios's latest outburst took the spotlight away from an impressive win against Edmund.

He had already spoiled Andy Murray's first appearance after 11 months on the sidelines with a hip injury when he beat the five-time Queen's winner in the first round on Tuesday.

With Wimbledon starting in just over a week, the unpredictable Kyrgios is beginning to get in the groove on grass.

Edmund had no answer to 11 aces in the first set, 13 in the second and eight in the third.

"I thought it was a pretty high-level match from both players. Obviously I served really, really well. I found my rhythm quite early," Kyrgios said.

"I feel pretty good. I haven't played a lot of matches in the last couple of months.

"So, I mean, when I'm serving out a match - you know, we have been playing for a couple hours and level has been pretty good.

"I got pretty tight. Yeah, apart from that, I'm always pretty relaxed. 32 aces helps."

Asked how much of a threat he could be at Wimbledon, Kyrgios kept it simple. "Big one," he said.

Kyrgios will play reigning Queen's champion Feliciano Lopez for a place in the semi-finals.