Djokovic serves up a storm in Melbourne
Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic powered into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over the entertaining Radek Stepanek on Friday.
The Serb world number one again served magnificently to complete a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 victory over the 31st seeded Czech in 2 hours 22 minutures on Rod Laver Arena.
Djokovic will next face either American 20th seed Sam Querrey or Swiss 15th seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the round of 16 on Sunday.
Djokovic has yet to drop serve in three rounds at this year’s Open and has only had five break points against him in 43 service games.
“It was a great match and great fun. It’s always tricky to play Radek, he’s a very talented player,” Djokovic said.
“He’s very skilful on the net and he made a lot of great first volleys, making me always play an extra ball. He’s been around for many years and I have a lot of respect for him.”
Stepanek kept coming at Djokovic and he ventured to the net 67 times to try to cut off the top seed’s scoring shots.
“He plays a lot of doubles with Leander Paes and he’s very skilful at the net and he was not giving me a lot of rhythm. He was changing up the pace of the ball, a lot of chip and charge which not many players do these days.”
Stepanek chased everything down and had Djokovic down a break point in the seventh game before losing the opening set when he netted a forehand in the only service break.
Djokovic settled into the groove and broke Stepanek’s serve a second time in the eighth game of the second set, when the Czech was stranded at the net and the top seed volleyed past him.
Djokovic served it out for the set and Stepanek needed a 17-minute opening game in the final set before holding service, as the world number one stepped up the pressure.
The defending champion fought off a break point in the eighth game but got the winning break three games later, and served out for victory.