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Djokovic sets pulses racing in Melbourne

MELBOURNE - Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic set pulses racing with his best tennis of the tournament as he marched into the fourth round of the Australian Open Saturday.

By (AFP)

Published: Sat 23 Jan 2010, 3:11 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:58 AM

The third seeded Serb was an impressive 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 winner over Denis Istomin following patchy performances in his first two outings here.

He lifted his game to a higher level to dominate the 103rd-ranked Uzbek in the one hour and 37 minutes contest.

Istomin had won both his previous matches in straight sets but found the world number three a much tougher challenge and was on the defensive from the outset.

Djokovic had a few problems on his serve, with seven double faults and only three aces, but compensated by hitting 29 winners.

He also showcased his improved net game under new coach Todd Martin, venturing to the net 35 times to win 25 points.

The 22-year-old said it was an all-round better performance and he was pleased to be off court quickly.

“Probably was my best out of three matches, but I don’t think my opponent played at the level that he could,” he said.

“He was helping me out with a lot of unforced errors, and basically we didn’t have a lot of long rallies.

“I just needed to be consistent and try to maintain the focus and get it over with as soon as possible and that’s what I did.

“I think at some stage in the tournament you want to have a straight sets win, an easy win, so you can get fast off the court and try to save all the energy as much as you can for the upcoming challenges.

“So it was good to have the match like this.”

Djokovic, who won his only Grand Slam title here in 2008 but last year retired in the quarter-finals due to heat exhaustion, will play unseeded Pole Lukasz Kubot in the next round.

Kubot was handed passage into the fourth round when 20th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny withdrew from the tournament with a right wrist injury.

The 27-year-old is competing in just his third Grand Slam, but does boast a win over Andy Roddick last year and met Djokovic in the final in Belgrade in May, with the Serb winning 6-3, 7-5.

“We talked about it in the locker room,” Djokovic said.

“He’s a good player, singles and doubles as well. I think he’s playing the best tennis of his life in the last year or so.

“For him going to the fourth round, even though he got a walkover today, it’s still a great result.

“I’m going dto o everything to prepare well.”

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