ATP Tour

Djokovic blasts past Istomin

Novak Djokovic. (AP Photo)
Novak Djokovic. (AP Photo)

Melbourne - Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic fought off Denis Istomin to win in straight sets and reach the fourth round at the Australian Open on Friday.

The second seed beat the 49th-ranked Uzbek 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 in just under two hours.

It was Djokovic's 24th straight win at the Australian Open as he bids to become only the second man after Australia's Roy Emerson to win the event four times in a row.

Djokovic, coached by German great Boris Becker, dictated the match with a service break in the third game and went on to break Istomin again to take the opening set in 31 minutes.

The Uzbek called for the trainer and took a medical timeout to treat a left quad strain, only to be tested by Djokovic when he returned the court.

The reigning champion pushed him from side to side and Istomin grimaced as he had to stretch for angled volleys.

Istomin lost serve again in the fourth game of the second set with a backhand forced out, and Djokovic rolled through the set taking a two-love lead with a forehand winner.

An overhit forehand gave Djokovic another service break early in the third set but Istomin kept fighting with some classic winners that earned applause from both the crowd and his opponent.

Djokovic had a hiccup when he was broken for the first time serving for the match, but he immediately broke back and safely served it out for victory.

It was a solid performance from the Serb with 31 winners and 23 unforced errors, while breaking Istomin's serve five times. Djokovic will play Italian 15th seed Fabio Fognini in the round of 16.

Results from the 3rd round of the Australian Open:

Results from the Australian Open on Friday:

Men's singles
3rd round

Florian Mayer (GER) bt Jerzy Janowicz (POL x20) 7-5, 6-2, 6-2
David Ferrer (ESP x3) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA x29) 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Tomas Berdych (CZE x7) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
Kevin Anderson (RSA x19) bt Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x8) bt Vasek Pospisil (CAN x28) walkover
Tommy Robredo (ESP x17) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA x9) 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6)
Fabio Fognini (ITA x15) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-3, 6-3, 7-5

Women's singles
3rd round

Serena Williams (USA x1) bt Daniela Hantuchova (SVK x31) 6-3, 6-3
Angelique Kerber (GER x9) bt Alison Riske (USA) 6-3, 6-4
Flavia Pennetta (ITA x28) bt Mona Barthel (GER) 6-1, 7-5
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN x30) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 6-2, 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x22) bt Monica Niculescu (ROM) 6-4, 6-4
Li Na (CHN x4) bt Lucie Safarova (CZE x26) 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) bt Zheng Jie (CHN) 6-2, 6-4
Ana Ivanovic (SRB x14) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS x17) 6-7 (8/10), 6-4, 6-2

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