Djokovic keen to keep sky-high expectations in check

Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:13am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic has been eager to quell expectations that he is hurtling towards a record-equaling sixth Australian Open title but a clinical performance against Andreas Seppi on Friday proved that he is still the man to beat.

The world number one, who is bidding to tie Roy Emerson on six titles, stepped closer to a potential semi-final showdown with Roger Federer with a 6-1 7-5 7-6(6) third round victory over Seppi.

The Italian was a potential banana skin for the Serb, having dumped Federer at the same stage last year, and Djokovic stamped his authority on the match early by racing out to a 5-0 lead.

While the scoreboard indicated a closely-fought contest, Djokovic sealed the important points, including saving two set points in the third set tiebreak.

"I must be pleased with a straight-set win because both sets, especially the third, could have gone a different way," Djokovic told reporters after setting up a fourth round clash with French 14th seed Gilles Simon.

"I'm still not very satisfied with certain parts of the second and third set. I think I could have done better.

"But I played a quality player who took out Federer last year... he is not afraid to play big tennis on a big stage."

Djokovic, who won three grand slams amongst his 11 titles last year, is also not afraid to play on a big stage having dominated the men's game over the last five years.   Continued...

Serbia's Novak Djokovic hits a shot during his third round match against Italy's Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Jason O'Brien