Djokovic, Serena stay hot as Melbourne cools

Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:43am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic bared his teeth to finish off Denis Istomin and extend the hottest winning streak in tennis to 27 matches in the third round of the Australian Open on Friday as a cool front brought respite to Melbourne after a four-day heatwave.

Serena Williams earlier made light of the last of the scorching temperatures, which again peaked around 42 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit), to blast her way into the fourth round for the loss of only a dozen games.

China's Li Na escaped defeat by a matter of centimeters in her third round match, while Spain's David Ferrer continued carving his way through the men's draw largely unnoticed.

Ferrer's compatriot Tommy Robredo caused the biggest upset of the day by edging ninth seed Richard Gasquet 2-6 7-5 6-4 7-6(6) in an evening thriller disrupted briefly by rain.

Djokovic's last defeat was against Rafa Nadal in the U.S Open final and 49 Istomin never looked like stopping his winning run at 26 matches under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena.

Looking to become the first man in the professional era to win four consecutive Australian Opens, second seed Djokovic raced through the first two sets in 70 minutes before the Uzbek suddenly upped his aggression to break the Serbian as he was serving for the match.

Visibly piqued, Djokovic was in no mood to risk the possibility of giving up his first set of the tournament and broke back immediately before overwhelming Istomin with the power of his shots to convert his second match point.

"I feel better on the court as the tournament is progressing," said Djokovic, who will take on his Italian friend Fabio Fognini for a place in the quarter-finals.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia during their women's singles matchat the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic