Australian Open

Djokovic blasts into 3rd round

2015-01-22 07:38
Novak Djokovic (AFP)

Melbourne - Novak Djokovic rattled through the second round to continue his amazing habit of comfortable early matches at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Serbia's world number one, who is gunning for a fifth Australian title, demolished Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 in just 1hr 24min to storm into the third round.

It means that since 2007 he has dropped just two sets in his first and second round matches at his favourite Grand Slam tournament.

In his first two years at the Australian Open he lost in the first round to Marat Safin (2005) and Paul Goldstein (2006).

Djokovic is seeking to progress further against either Japan's Go Soeda or Spanish 31st seed Fernando Verdasco next up.

He never gave the 88th-ranked Kuznetsov a chance, reeling off the opening nine games and losing only five games on Rod Laver Arena.

"This is generally my most successful Grand Slam and the tournament where over the years I've performed my best tennis," the seven-time Grand Slam champion said.

"It's probably the fact that I enjoy the conditions of play, the faster courts and I enjoy being in Australia.

"It's the beginning of the year. It's the first big tournament. Everybody comes fresh and motivated. I guess it's a combination of things that make me feel comfortable on the court here."

Djokovic prides himself on being well prepared for his matches and carried out his plans to perfection against the Russian, who has played before against his younger brother, Marko.

"Overall I executed the game plan. Everything I intended to do, almost 100 percent, from every second in my game, serve, baseline play, aggressive shots and aggressive returns," he said.

"He dropped his first serve percentage a lot in the second set and allowed me to have a lot of looks at the second serves.

"That gave me an opportunity to step in and just swing through the ball."

Djokovic raced to 6-0, 3-0 before the Russian could get on the scoreboard.

But Kuznetsov made it more of a contest in the third set before the top seed got his seventh service break and then served out for the match.

Djokovic's form is red hot and he only conceded 19 unforced errors while cracking 28 winners, showing no signs of the virus that had dogged him in the lead up to the year's first major tournament.

Djokovic went out of last year's Open to eventual winner Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals, ending a run of 14 consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearances by the Serb.

Read more on:    australian open  |  novak djokovic  |  tennis


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