• Australian Open, Day Five

Entertainer Novak happy with win over Stepanek

ESPN staff
January 18, 2013
Radek Stepanek did his bit with some exciting play © AP

Novak Djokovic came through his first test of the tournament and always felt it would be tough against Radek Stepanek. He said: "I wasn't expecting an easy match coming into the third round and playing a seeded player. Top 30 in the world. Somebody that has a lot of experience playing on the tour.

"He loves the big stage. You saw how much fun he had. I also had a lot of fun playing. It was a very entertaining match. As I said on the court, he's very skilful, comes to the net, never gives you the same ball twice. That's something that makes him a different player from most of the guys.

"It was three close sets. You know, I felt that I had much more chances on his serve than he had on my serve. Maybe I could have won the third set earlier. But credit to him, he always played well when he needed to."

Ana Ivanovic got the better of fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic and she felt she won the mental battle. She said: "I think it's the style of the games, and there is no secret. Today's game, it's also a lot mental. With some players you feel better; with others you don't.

"It was a tough match. I think it was intense from the first to the last moment, but I really felt like I stayed in the zone and I played each point for that point. That's what was my goal today, so I'm very pleased I managed to do that."

Li Na was a comfortable winner over Sorana Cirstea and was quick to praise her coach Carlos Rodriguez. She said: "He's not only a teacher about tennis. It's not only about technique. He's also about making my mind more stronger on the court. I feel more relaxed working with him. He never gives me pressure. He says, 'You never know what will happen on the tennis court, so just try to win the first round. If you can't win the first round, nothing will happen after'."

Agnieszka Radwanska continued her winning run in 2013 with a comfortable victory over Heather Watson and she admits confidence is running through her. She said: "I was practising hard in the off-season, a lot of fitness, but just feeling good on court. I'm very confident from the beginning and just happy that I can play really my best tennis from the beginning of the year. I just hope I keep going. Of course now is going be harder and harder playing against seeded players. We'll see."

Heather Watson was well beaten by Radwanska and admits she felt smothered. She said: "She's just always there every game, so you can't have a second because she will just take the next few points.

"I thought I had a good start to the match. I had chances early on to break, but I wasn't able to convert. And I think after that game that I didn't convert it kind of just slipped away a little bit."

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