/ Tennis

Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych make smooth progress at Australian Open

Updated: Friday, 17 Jan 2014 18:25 | Comments

Novak Djokovic has won four of the last six Australian Opens
Novak Djokovic has won four of the last six Australian Opens

Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak once again to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open without dropping a set.

The three-time defending champion has now won 27 straight matches dating back to his final defeat by Rafael Nadal at the US Open and is unbeaten in 24 matches at Melbourne Park.

For the most part he was very impressive in a 6-3 6-3 7-5 win over Denis Istomin, although it was a slightly messy finish.

Having not faced a break point all match, Djokovic was broken the first time he served for the match, but he channelled his annoyance into getting another break straight away and this time completed the job.

The world number two, who next meets talented Italian Fabio Fognini, said: "It was never going to be easy. Denis is a quality opponent and he showed that tonight.

"In the important moments I managed to stay composed, even though it was very close in the third. Obviously I didn't want to drop that third set and go into a fourth."

This is Djokovic's first tournament of the year, and he said: "I have to be satisfied with each performance I've had. As the tournament has progressed I've played better and better. It's very important to elevate my game and hopefully I can stay on this path."

Damir Dzumhur's dream run is over but he will leave Melbourne with encouragement from the sport's best ringing in his ears.

The 21-year-old came through qualifying to become the first player ever to represent Bosnia in the main draw of a grand slam and went all the way to the third round.

That brought a meeting with seventh seed Tomas Berdych on Hisense Arena, and it was the Czech who prevailed 6-4 6-2 6-2.

Speaking on court, Berdych said he thought Dzumhur had a promising future, while one of the first people the beaten Bosnian spoke to when he came off court was Djokovic.

"He said congratulations and definitely you will have these matches more and more," said Dzumhur.

"He's definitely someone I've looked up to, he's one of the best players in the history of tennis and his words mean a lot to me. I'm proud of that.

"He told me that one day he hopes he will play against me and he will see me in the big tournaments again.

"They were nice words from Tomas, too, and thanks to him. I hope I will use this and definitely I will work more and work hard to get that nice future."

Dzumhur has won many friends in Melbourne, not least a small but very loud band of local Bosnians who gave him raucous support.

He has been making headlines at home as well, providing an unexpectedly great start to a year that will see Bosnia's national football team make their debut at the World Cup finals.

Dzumhur said: "Some of the newspapers and TV stations called me after the match. They said the whole of Bosnia didn't sleep tonight, that everybody was in front of their TV and they were so proud."

Next up for Berdych will be a fourth-round clash with South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who fought back from two sets down for the second straight match to defeat France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

It will be the third straight time the pair have met in Australia and the fifth time in nine grand slams, with Anderson yet to win.

Third seed David Ferrer continued his smooth progress through the draw, although the Spaniard had to save three set points in the second set on his way to a 6-2 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 win over France's Jeremy Chardy.

It was the end of the road, though, for 20th seed Jerzy Janowicz, who lost 7-5 6-2 6-2 to Florian Mayer of Germany.

Janowicz then revealed he has been playing with a broken bone in his foot against the advice of his doctor.

The Pole was not able to practise during the off season, and he said: "Today I was completely kaput."

Spain's Tommy Robredo came from a set down to knock out ninth seed Richard Gasquet.

On Saturday, Roger Federer and Nadal attempt to book their places in the fourth round when they face Teymuraz Gabashvili and Gael Monfils, respectively.

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