Melbourne, Australia (Sports Network) - Top seed and two-time defending
champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open on
Djokovic became the first man to the round of 16 with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 victory
over Czech Radek Stepanek at Rod Laver Arena.
"Well, yes, definitely," Djokovic said when asked if this was his toughest
match thus far. "I mean, I wasn't expecting an easy match coming into the
third round and playing a seeded player; somebody that has a lot of experience
playing on the tour."
The Serbian broke the 31st-seeded Stepanek once in each set and fired 37
Djokovic, who also won the title at Melbourne Park in 2008, is bidding to
become the first three-peat champion in the Open Era at this Grand Slam event.
He will next play either Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka or American Sam
Other winners Friday were Djokovic's countryman, Janko Tipsarevic, Nicolas
Almagro, Kei Nishikori and Kevin Anderson.
The eighth-seeded Tipsarevic rallied to beat 32nd-seeded Frenchman Julien
Benneteau 3-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 and reach the fourth round Down Under for
the first time. In doing so, he joined Djokovic as the second Serbian to reach
the round of 16 at all four majors.
Up next for Tipsarevic, who improved to 17-8 in five-set matches, will be
Almagro. The 10th-seeded Spaniard topped 24th-seeded Pole Jerzy Janowicz 7-6
(7-3), 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.
The 16th-seeded Nishikori advanced with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, 6-3 triumph over
Russian Evgeny Donskoy. Nishikori became the first Japanese man to reach the
quarterfinals at Melbourne Park in the Open Era last year.
Anderson, meanwhile, fought back to oust 22nd-seeded Spaniard Fernando
Verdasco 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. Anderson is the first South African
man to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam since Wayne Ferreira reached the
2003 Aussie Open semifinals.
The Sports Network