Australian Open: Novak Djokovic motors into round four in Melbourne
Last Updated: 17/01/14 6:02pm
Novak Djokovic: Stretched in the third set before progressing
Novak Djokovic powered into the fourth round of the 2014 Australian Open with a 6-3 6-3 7-5 victory over Denis Istomin at Melbourne Park.
The world No 2, looking to win the opening Grand Slam of the year for a third successive year and fifth time in all, looks in ominous form heading into the second week.
Opponent Istomin, a big-server from Uzbekistan, harboured hopes of prolonging the match when breaking Djokovic for the first and only time in the third set, only for the Serb to break back instantly and then close out victory.
Next up for Djokovic, who is yet to drop a set in the tournament so far, will be Fabio Fognini after the Italian 15th seed overcame American Sam Querrey in straight sets.
It was the second seed's 27th straight victory dating back to his US Open final defeat by Rafael Nadal and his 24th in a row at Melbourne Park.
For the most part, this was the sharpest he has looked this tournament, and Istomin soon found himself scampering around the back of the court in a vain attempt to live with his opponent.
Djokovic broke serve for the first time in the third game of the match and then again to take the first set.
Istomin, who is coached by his mother Klaudiya, took a medical time-out for treatment to his left leg but again found himself swiftly behind in the second set.
The Uzbek hinted at a comeback in the fifth game of the third set, stringing together a series of winners and soaking up the acclaim of both the crowd and his opponent.
Still there did not appear any real threat to Djokovic, who was a break up and had not faced a single break point.
But serving for the match he double-faulted to hand Istomin his chance and then netted a forehand.
He broke again immediately, though, letting out a huge roar, and this time he completed the job.
There was a surprise result in Djokovic's half of the draw as 17th seed Tommy Robredo defeated ninth seed Richard Gasquet 2-6 7-5 6-4 7-6 (8-6).
Robredo's reward is a fourth-round match against a well-rested Stanislas Warwinka, who gained a walkover win against Canada's Vasek Pospisil.