Andy Murray will on Thursday in the quarter-finals take on talented teenager Borna Coric, a player which Novak Djokovic feels he sees himself in.
The world No1 spent time practicing with Coric last December in Dubai and feels a special connection to the 18-year-old Croat, who already has Rafael Nadal as one of the victims of his very short career.
“He's definitely one of the most talented players right now the world. He beat Nadal in Basel four or five months ago, and since that tournament you can feel he has matured a lot. He feels comfortable playing with top players,” said Djokovic of Coric, who will be facing a top-10 player today for just the fourth time of his career.
“I try to help him because I see, in a way, myself through him I've never felt that way when I practice with somebody as I felt with him. It's like playing myself. Very similar game.
“Great fighting spirit, disciplined, focused, committed, confident, very young but confident, which is important.
“I think he has a bright future if he is able to stay on the pathway he is on right now and be patient. He has a good team of people around him.”
Both Murray and Djokovic earned swift victories to reach the last eight but Coric escaped from the brink of defeat against Marcos Baghdatis, who was up a double break in the final set and served for the match at 5-3 before allowing the young Croat back in the match.
Baghdatis, a former Australian Open finalist, suffered from cramps and was forced to retire from the final set tiebreak at 4-4, allowing Coric to continue riding the wave of luck that has now seen him reach the quarter-finals as a lucky loser with this 6-4, 3-6, 6-6 (retired) two hour 56 minute battle.
After the match, a barefoot Baghdatis was seen hobbling with his wife Karolina Sprem and their daughter in tow, while an exhausted Coric was anxious to get to the locker room and start his recovery, hoping to get ready for a tough test against Murray, who destroyed Joao Sousa early on centre court, 6-0, 6-2 in 57 minutes.
Djokovic was just as impressive, easing past Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev 6-1, 6-2 in an hour.
The Serb faces zero break points and broke his opponent four times in a routine affair in front of a sellout centre court crowd.
“More comfortable than yesterday, that's for sure,” Djokovic said. “Basically I didn't have as much pressure from the opponent's serve as I did last night. Having one match under my belt before today's encounter helped to feel a bit more comfortable to move around on the court quicker, and I tried to take away the time from my opponent today.”