Novak Djokovic rains on Stan Wawrinka’s parade in Rome

Novak Djokovic celebrates

Novak Djokovic beat Stan Wawrinka for the 20th time in 26 meetings to book a place in the Italian Open quarter-finals.

Djokovic ruthlessly dispatched Warwrinka 6-2, 6-2 to keep alive his hopes of retaining his World No 1 status.

The Serb must reach the last four in Rome to prevent Daniil Medvedev from once again snatching top spot.

Djokovic was wary of Wawrinka despite his belief that the man who has beaten him six times isn’t yet at his best after returning from injury.

“It is great to see Stan back and winning. He won two tough matches. You can see he is still not physically where he wants to be. But nevertheless he is Stan Wawrinka and he can hurt you if you give him time,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “I managed to do well from the beginning. I really moved him around the court and held my serve comfortably except for that loss of my serve in the second set.”

Djokovic will contest his 89th ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final on Friday against Canadian hope Felix Auger-Aliassime.

“I have known Felix for quite a few years,” Djokovic said. “He is established, a Top 10 player, so is right up there. He is as hard worker on the Tour that you see and he is a nice guy. His all-around game is improving. He is improving on clay. I know his game and what is expected.”

Djokovic is chasing a record-extending 38th Masters 1000 crown at the Foro Italico, where he is a five-time champion.

The defending French Open champion has been gathering steam over the last few weeks following his surprise second-round exit in Monte Carlo.

Djokovic enjoyed a run to the final at his home event in Belgrade before reaching the semi-finals at the Madrid Open last week.

Wawrinka couldn’t get into the contest and expended most of his energy chasing the ball with Djokovic making him cover every inch of the clay in Rome.

After wrapping up the opening set in just 31 minutes, Djokovic kept the hammer down in the second, picking off Wawrinka’s faltering serve to power into the last eight.