Novak Djokovic achieved his best result of the 2018 season thus far by making it to the quarterfinals of the Italian Open with a win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Thursday.

The Serbian missed the second-half of the 2017 season with an elbow injury and only returned to action in January this year at the Australian Open. He lost in the round of 16 in Melbourne to Hyeon Chung after which he did not play for almost two months owing to a recurrence of the injury.

Djokovic underwent a minor procedure to correct the injury and only returned to action in March at the BNP Paribas Open. He has since played five events with an appearance in the round of 16 at the Monte Carlo Masters being his best result thus far.

The former world number one looked confident during his 6-1, 7-5 win over Ramos-Vinolas and believes in terms of quality it was just one three matches that he has played in the last 12 months. Djokovic is confident he will get better the more he plays and the Italian Open was a happy hunting ground for the Serbian having won the tournament four times in the past.

Novak Djokovic Novak Djokovic will face Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open. In this picture, Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point in his match against Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain during day 5 of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2018 tennis at Foro Italico in Rome, Italy, May 17, 2018. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

“I'm happy. I haven't had too many matches of this quality of my tennis in the last 12 months,” Djokovic said after his win over Ramos-Vinolas, as quoted on Tennis World USA. “I think this was probably one of the three matches that I played this way in the last 12 months. So, it felt good. And it came at the right time in the place where I love to play, where I get a lot of support. And so, I'm just trying to thrive on this energy that I get from people here.

“And I've historically always played well in Rome, and I feel like each match is getting better. So, hopefully, it's going to continue in this direction,” he said.

Djokovic also spoke about his elbow injury and confirmed he has no pain when he is on court. He  struggled with the injury for over 12-months and despite the pain returning after games, he is glad it stays away when he is on court.

“So far so good. In terms of pain, I don't have it. So that's a good thing. Off the court, I do have it still in certain situations . But on the court, which is most important, I don't. And I hope it stays that way,” the Serbian said.

Djokovic will face Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open on Friday with the winners facing a clash with either world number two Rafael Nadal or Fabio Fognini.