Novak Djokovic made 100 unforced errors but still reached the Australian Open quarter-finals ©Getty Images

Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic was given a major scare by France’s Gilles Simon but the Serbian battled through to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The five-time winner has been the dominant force in the men’s game in recent years but looked uncharacteristically vulnerable during a five-set match against the 14th seeded player.

Having won the opening set 6-3, Djokovic’s serene progress through the rounds looked set to continue but Simon hit-back to win the second 7-6 against the 28-year-old.

After conceding the third set 6-4, Simon came from behind for the second time in the match to force the contest into a deciding set, where Djokovic regained his composure to eventually secure a 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win in the Rod Laver Arena.

While the result saw Djokovic reach his 27th straight Grand Slam quarter-final, the world number one was left perplexed by his display, which saw him make 100 unforced errors.

“You can expect unforced errors when you're playing Gilles Simon who is one of the best counter-punchers in the tour at the moment and he's been around for many years," he said.

“I knew what was expecting me on the court, but I honestly didn't expect to make this many unforced errors.

“In terms of a level that I've played, it's the match to forget for me.

“Again, I won it, so it's pretty good, when you're playing that bad and still manage to win.”

Maria Sharapova will need to end her poor record against Serena Williams if she is to make the semi-finals
Maria Sharapova will need to end her poor record against Serena Williams if she is to make the semi-finals ©Getty Images

The match will offer hope to Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who will face Djokovic in the quarter-finals after impressively beating France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.

Meanwhile, third seed Roger Federer also enjoyed comfortable progression as the Swiss overcame Belgium’s David Goffin 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 as he seeks a first Australian Open victory since 2010.

Women’s defending champion Serena Williams produced an impressive display to overcome Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan 6-2, 6-1.

The American will face the challenge of Maria Sharapova, where she will aim to extend her remarkable head-to-head record having not lost to the Russian player since 2004.

If Sharapova is to end that run, in a rematch of last year’s final, the 28-year-old will need to iron out errors which made her tie against Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic closer than expected pre-match, with the Russian eventually winning 7-5, 7-5.

Australian hopes came to an end in the women’s draw, with Russian-born Daria Gavrilova letting a first set lead slip to lose 6-0, 3-6, 2-6 to Spain’s Carla Sanchez Navarro.

Navarro will face fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, who overcame the unseeded Anna-Lena Friedsam 7-6, 1-6, 7-5, with her German opponent having struggled with cramp in the closing stages.