New power serve sends Djokovic into Aussie Open Round 3

Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)

Melbourne - Defending champion Novak Djokovic credited a newly refined serve for his eight-game unbeaten streak this season after he romped past Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito to reach the Australian Open third round.

The Serbian star gave up just seven games against the world No 146 in the 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 workout on Rod Laver Arena which lasted just 95 minutes.

Djokovic has been taking tips from serving maestro Goran Ivanisevic and fired down 16 aces against Ito to extend his ominous run after winning six matches with Serbia at the ATP Cup.

"My serve was working extremely well in first round and second round. That's something I worked on in the off-season," said Djokovic, who is gunning for a 17th Grand Slam title and his eighth in Melbourne.

"That's one of the priorities I guess of the training sessions, trying to get that I think advantage of winning a lot of easy points on the first serve.

"It has been paying off so far I think in ATP Cup and here, two matches."

His reward is a clash against another Japanese, Yoshihito Nishioka, who beat Britain's Dan Evans in three sets.

It was Djokovic's 70th match win at Melbourne Park to only eight defeats, but one of those losses was against another wildcard - Denis Istomin - in the second round three years ago.

Perhaps with that in mind, he came out with all guns blazing, racing through the first set in just 22 minutes.

The 32-year-old dropped a set in a tough opening clash on Monday against German Jan-Lennard Struff, and against the odds Ito pressed hard to level the match in the second set.

The experienced Japanese, bidding to reach a Grand Slam third round for the first time, cut down on his error rate to push Djokovic around the court and get into the rallies.

But the Serb inevitably got the break he was chasing in game nine when Ito fluffed a forehand and he quickly served it out, blasting down an ace to go two sets ahead.

Djokovic, bidding for a 17th Grand Slam title, had never lost a Slam match to a player ranked as low as Ito and the Japanese couldn't sustain his level, leaking errors as the world number two galloped to the finish line.

Djokovic praised Ito "for fighting till the end", with both players struggling to master the windy conditions at Melbourne Park.

"I don't think players enjoy these kind of conditions, to be honest. But it is what it is," Djokovic said.

"You have to accept them and embrace the fact that, I guess, you're going to be challenged on different levels, not just by your opponent, but also the conditions."

Djokovic is seeking to become only the third man to win eight or more titles at the same Grand Slam after Rafael Nadal (12 at Roland Garros) and Roger Federer (eight at Wimbledon).

Results on day three of the Australian Open Grand Slam at Melbourne Park on Wednesday:

Men's singles

2nd round

Tennys Sandgren (USA) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA x8) 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5

Sam Querrey (USA) bt Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 7-6 (7/2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Guido Pella (ARG x22) bt Gregoire Barrere (FRA) 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Jannik Sinner (ITA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3

Tommy Paul (USA) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x18) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (10/3)

John Millman (AUS) bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL x31) 6-4, 7-5, 6-3

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x6) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) walkover

Milos Raonic (CAN x32) bt Cristian Garin (CHI) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Marin Cilic (CRO) bt Benoit Paire (FRA x21) 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (10/3)

Diego Schwartzman (ARG x14) bt Alejandro Davidovich (ESP) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Dusan Lajovic (SRB x24) bt Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3

Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) bt Daniel Evans (GBR x30) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Tatsuma Ito (JPN) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Roger Federer (SUI x3) bt Filip Krajinovic (CRO) 6-1, 6-4, 6-1

Fabio Fognini (ITA x12) bt Jordan Thompson (AUS) 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (10/4)

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x9) bt Michael Mmoh (USA) 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1

Women's singles

1st round

Sara Sorribes (ESP) bt Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 2-6, 6-1, 6-1

Anett Kontaveit (EST x28) bt Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-0, 6-2

Iga Swiatek (POL) bt Timea Babos (HUN) 6-3, 6-2

Carla Suarez (ESP) bt Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x11) 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (8/6)

Elise Mertens (BEL x16) bt Danka Kovinic (MNE) 6-2, 6-0

Heather Watson (GBR) bt Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x30) bt Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 6-1, 7-5

Taylor Townsend (USA) bt Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)

2nd rd

Ashleigh Barty (AUS x1) bt Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-1, 6-4

Elena Rybakina (KAZ x29) bt Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-3, 6-4

Alison Riske (USA x18) bt Lin Zhu (CHN) 6-3, 6-1

Julia Goerges (GER) bt Petra Martic (CRO x13) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5

Maria Sakkari (GRE x22) bt Nao Hibino (JPN) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4

Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS x25) bt Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) 6-1, 6-3

Petra Kvitova (CZE x7) bt Paula Badosa (ESP) 7-5, 7-5

Naomi Osaka (JPN x3) bt Saisai Zheng (CHN) 6-2, 6-4

Cori Gauff (USA) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5

Shuai Zhang (CHN) bt Caty McNally (USA) 6-2, 6-4

Sofia Kenin (USA x14) bt Ann Li (USA) 6-1, 6-3

Ons Jabeur (TUN) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA) 1-6, 6-2, 6-3

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) bt Dayana Yastremska (UKR x23) 7-5, 7-5

Qiang Wang (CHN x27) bt Fiona Ferro (FRA) 6-1, 6-2

Serena Williams (USA x8) bt Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-2, 6-3

Madison Keys (USA x10) bt Arantxa Rus (NED) 7-6 (7/3), 6-2


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