Djokovic through in straight sets
Originally published on 17/01/14
The defending champion broke early in each set on his way to a 6-3 6-3 7-5 victory just after midnight in Australia once the roof was closed for rain following another day of blistering on-court temperatures.
Istomin offered late resistance, holding serve with a curled backhand winner around the net post and breaking Djokovic for 5-5 in the third set. But the Serb immediately broke back and served out the clash to stretch his unbeaten run at Melbourne to 24 matches.
“The roof was closed tonight and temperature dropped by at least 10 degrees,” Djokovic said. “You could feel that it affected the play. The ball was much slower.
“Things got tense towards the end of the match. (Istomin) started hitting the ball really well and I made some double-faults.
“But I didn't want to drop the third set,” added the 26-year-old. “I was very focused on getting the job done in straight sets."
Third seed David Ferrer booked his place in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the 15th time in succession with a 6-2 7-6(5) 6-2 win over France’s Jeremy Chardy.
The Spaniard needed just two hours and 12 minutes to progress despite temperatures hitting 42ºC and he admitted he had to dig deep when 6-5 down in the second set.
“I was angry with myself and a bit nervous at that point,” he said. “But I got lucky when (Chardy) called a challenge and it went my way. I knew when I won the second set it would be difficult for him because it was very hot.”
Ferrer will face Florian Mayer after the German upset 20th seed Jerzy Janowicz 7-5 6-2 6-2 to advance to the Australian Open last 16 for the first time in his career.
World No.7 Tomas Berdych is also into Round Four after overcoming the worst of the Melbourne heat to beat Bosnian qualifier Damir Dzumhur 6-4 6-2 6-2.
“Today was the hottest experience I have ever endured on a tennis court,” said Berdych, who is yet to drop a set this tournament. “I’m happy just to survive this heat and am looking forward to cooler conditions.”
Berdych will play Kevin Anderson for a third consecutive Australian Open after the South African defended match point at two sets down to beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
Fabio Fognini and Tommy Robredo both progressed unscathed after a slight rain delay during the evening play in Melbourne.
Words: Joe Short