Novak won the five-set epic despite an injury. The top seed and eight-time titlist recorded a 7-6 (1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 victory in 3 hours and 25 minutes to set a R16 clash with Milos Raonic (CAN, 14, H2H 11-0).
In just 91 minutes inside RLA, the top seed and defending champion made a statement behind a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Jeremy Chardy.
The 2021 Australian Open draw took place on Friday. Novak, a record-extending eight-time AO champion, is a top seed. He will open title defence against world no.66 Jeremy Chardy of France (H2H 13-0).
Novak extended his perfect singles ATP Cup record, defeating Alexander Zverev in three sets 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-5. The tie was decided by a doubles rubber (Djokovic/Cacic l.to Zverev/Struff 6-7, 7-5, 7-10).
After two singles matches, Serbia and Canada were tied at 1-1 in Group A action. Milos Raonic beat Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4, then Novak defeated Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 7-5. Nole and Filip Krajinovic won the deciding doubles 7-5, 7-6 (4) to claim victory in the tie.
Melbourne Park will host the ATP Cup this year, which will be played from February 2 to February 6. 2020 champion Serbia, which will be led by world no.1 Novak Djokovic, has been selected into Group A along with Germany and Canada.
Nole recorded a 7-6 (1), 6-4, 6-3 victory over Roger Federer in their 50th career H2H match (27-23). The Serbian star will face Dominic Thiem (AUT, 5) in Sunday's final, looking to win his eighth Australian Open crown.
Defending champion Novak emerged victorious 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (1) in the big-hitting quarter-final showdown against Milos Raonic in Tuesday's night session on Rod Laver Arena. Next up for the world no.2 is no.3 seed Roger Federer. The semi-final is scheduled on Friday.