Alex de Minaur books spot in fourth round, will face nine-time champion Novak Djokovic

Djokovic pleads for heckler to be removed (1:12)

Novak Djokovic asks the umpire to do something about a vocal member of the crowd during his second-round win over Enzo Couacaud. (1:12)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Alex de Minaur equaled his best result at the Australian Open on Saturday, defeating Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi to set up a tantalizing fourth-round clash against 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic.

The crowd favorite and 22nd seed at Melbourne Park struggled with his serve throughout the afternoon but his trademark hustle, speed and return game proved enough to account for the unheralded Bonzi, 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-1, in a little over two hours.

"I'm very happy, I can't lie," de Minaur said after the match. "Happy to be able to do it in back-to-back years, and giving myself another chance and opportunity to go deep in my home Slam, which is ultimately what I want to be doing.

"Honestly, as a kid, this is what you train for. To play on this court, in one of the biggest stages in the world ... every time I get out here I've got to pinch myself. I'm just excited I get another chance to come out here and show what I'm made of in the biggest of stages and just test myself out there and really take it to them."

De Minaur, 23, overcame a slew of missed opportunities to clinch the opening set in a rare to-love tie-breaker. The Australian generated 14 break point chances in the frame but could only capitalize on two, the same amount Bonzi converted from his four.

The service woes continued for both players in the second set. At one stage, 11 consecutive points were won by the returner, as the pair traded breaks of serve.

But from 4-2 up in the second set, de Minaur was able to pull clear, reeling off eight of the next nine games to book his place in the last 16 of his home Slam. His defence and ability to track down balls from all over the court was a feature in the back half of the match, constantly forcing Bonzi to play an extra shot.

The win sees de Minaur match last year's fourth round appearance at Melbourne Park. His best performance at a major remains the 2020 US Open, where he reached the quarterfinals.

He will face nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic in the fourth round, who accounted for Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets later on Day 6, despite nursing a left hamstring strain.

"[Djokovic] is one of the best players in the world, and I'm just going to have to take it to him and not shy away from the occasion," said de Minaur. "I'm going to make sure I make it as tough as I can, and, you know, just bring the recent experience I've had on court and how I've been feeling. I'm not going to read into too much of that (hamstring) injury."

After his win over Dimitrov, Djokovic was asked about de Minaur, someone who he has never faced in his professional career.

"De Minaur, one of the quickest players on the tour. If not the quickest," said Djokovic. "He's improved a lot. He's got Lleyton Hewitt in his corner, a multiple Grand Slam winner, and that's a great team. Let's see, obviously it's going to a great atmosphere and I'll look forward to it."