Top seed Novak Djokovic booked his place in the Australian Open round of 16 after recording a straight sets victory over Andreas Seppi.
The Serbian defending champion made a rare appearance on Margaret Court Arena on Friday but was his dominant self for the most part, as he beat the Italian 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(6) in two hours and 24 minutes.
The world number one needed only 26 minutes to brush aside the 31-year-old – who beat Roger Federer at the same stage in Melbourne last year – in the first set, having raced to a 5-0 lead in the blink of an eye.
To Seppi’s credit, he got better and better the longer the match went on and gave a good account of himself in the two sets that followed.
The second set was a much closer affair, although Djokovic was seldom troubled on his own serve – Seppi was only able to carve out one break opportunity, in the sixth game.
Eventually Seppi’s resistance was broken in the 11th game and the five-time winner in Melbourne served out the set without incident.
The third set proved to be even closer than what came before, with Djokovic forced into defensive mode at times. In the fourth game, Seppi had two break point opportunities when he led 15-40, but Djokovic remained composed and saw off the danger.
From this point, both players were dominant on serve and a tie-break seemed an inevitability. In the breaker, Seppi had a 6-4 lead and two points to force the match into a fourth stanza, but Djokovic proceeded to win the next four points and with that, the match.
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