• Australian Open

Temperatures drop, but Djokovic remains red-hot

ESPN staff
January 17, 2014
Red-hot Djokovic is now unbeaten in 27 matches © Getty Images

Novak Djokovic warmed up - literally - for his Australian Open third-round match with Denis Istomin by frying an egg on a practice court at Melbourne Park.

But with news that temperatures are set to drop over the weekend, world No. 2 Djokovic remained red-hot as a series of blistering serves, fearsome forehands and sumptuous backhands handed the Serb a comfortable 6-3 6-3 7-5 victory.

Djokovic has now won 24 consecutive Australian Open matches - and 27 in a row in all competitions dating back to his US Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal - and remains on course to be the first player to win four Australian Open titles in a row in the Open era.

He has won all three matches so far in straight sets and his major threats - top-seeded Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer - are in the other half of the draw.

"I have to be satisfied," Djokovic said. "As the tournament progresses I'm playing better and better.

"It's important not to underestimate any opponent. Having the right approach to the court, having the right intensity, starting from the first point to try to show to your opponent that you're there to win."

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Djokovic's next opponent will be 15th seed Fabio Fognini, who completed a straight-sets victory over American Sam Querrey 7-5 6-4 6-4 in the Margaret Court Arena.

World No. 3 David Ferrer also advanced to the fourth round with a 6-2 7-6(5) 6-2 win over Jeremy Chardy.

Ferrer has reached at least the fourth round for 15 consecutive grand slam tournaments, dating back to Wimbledon in 2010. He was a semi-finalist last year at Melbourne Park, losing to eventual champion Djokovic.

He had a career-best year in 2013, reaching his first grand slam final at the French Open and finishing the year at No. 3 in the rankings. Ferrer now meets Florian Mayer in the fourth round after his win Jerzy Janowicz in straight sets earlier on Friday.

Tomas Berdych also advanced to the fourth round with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 win over qualifier Damir Dzumhur.

Dzumhur, the first man from Bosnia and Herzegovina to play singles in a grand slam, was cheered on by a vocal group of supporters from the Balkans region who now live in Melbourne.

Berdych's fourth-round opponent will be South African No. 1 Kevin Anderson, who recovered from two sets down to scrape past Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 3-6 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) 7-5.

Eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka was handed a walkover victory after Vasek Pospisil was forced to pull out with a back injury.

Wawrinka will play 17th seed Tommy Robredo after he recovered from a set down to beat ninth seed Richard Gasquet 2-6 7-5 6-4 7-6(6) in the Hisense Arena.

David Ferrer will meet Florian Mayer in the fourth round © Getty Images

Parts of this article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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