Cooler conditions prevailed in Melbourne Park on Friday evening. Even for Saturday, there is a temperature forecast of about 250 C has been made. As the tournament heads to the completion of its first week, the main contenders in men’s and women’s categories appeared on course. Novak Djokovic’s victory in the third round on Friday was his 24th consecutive win at Melbourne Park. Under the watchful eyes of Boris Becker, his new mentor, Djokovic presented a sizzling and sharp display in defeating Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. The big serving Istomin, however, had a satisfaction of breaking Djokovic and stretching him in the third set before finally bowing out 3-6, 3-6, 5-7 in straight sets. Thus far in the tournament, Djokovic is yet to drop a set and looks set to take the title for the third successive year and five times overall. Djokovic’s next match will be against the 15th seed Italian Fabio Fognini, who defeated Sam Querrey of US in his third round match.
In another third round match at the Rod Laver arena, Roger Federer had a rather easy time against 28-year old Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili, whom he defeated 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 41 minutes. Luckily for Federer and Gabashvili, the temperature dropped to about 250 C and therefore, they didn’t have to face the heat trouble on the court. In appreciation of Gabashvili, it must be mentioned that he was able to create 5 break-point opportunities against Federer during the match but unfortunately couldn’t convert a single one in his favor. Federer, on the other hand broke Gabashvili’s serve 5 times out of 14 break opportunities. For a place in the quarterfinals, Federer will now meet either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Gilles Simon. The match between these two is scheduled on Saturday night.
In other notable matches completed on Friday and scheduled for Saturday, the unassuming David Ferrer won his third round encounter against the 29th seed Jeremy Chardy in a businesslike manner. Though the two of them fought out a tie-break in the second set, it was still a straight sets 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 win for Ferrer. The 17th seed Spaniard Tommy Robredo beat 9th seed Richard Gasquet of France 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6. Robredo’s next match will be against Switzerland’s Stanislas Warwinka, who enjoyed a walkover against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil. Playing his third round match, No. 4 seed Andy Murray of Great Britain had to endure a tie-break in the first set against No. 26 Feliciano Lopez of Spain but finally it was an easy straight sets victory for him at 7-6, 6-4, 6-2. Top seed Rafael Nadal will meet no. 25 seed Gael Monfils of France late on Saturday.
In women’s matches, the third seed Maria Sharapova had a tough encounter with No. 25 Alize Cornet of France with a hard-fought second set. Sharapova finally won 6-1, 7-6. Serena Williams appeared on course with a 6-3, 6-3 win over 31st seed Daniela Hantuchova. This was Serena’s 61st win in the Australian Open and it took her past Lindsay Davenport’s 60 wins. No. 9 seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany scored an easy 6-3, 6-4 victory over American Alison Riske; Poland no. 5 seed Agnieszka Radwanska had to fight it out against no. 29 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia with the match score of 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 and 8th seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic defeated Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-4, 7-5.
But there were two women-singles matches, which had heartbreaking results for some. Much to the disappointment of the vociferous supporters at Melbourne Park, Australian Sam Stosur was done in by the 14th seed Ana Ivanovic. Stosur fought hard before going down in three sets 7-6, 4-6, 2-6. In the other match Chinese Li Na came from match-point down to scrape through 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 and broke the heart of No. 26 seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.
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