Devastating Djokovic sees off next generation

Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:53am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic delivered a stinging lesson in the realities of grand slam tennis to young American Ryan Harrison on Wednesday and warned the next generation they need to work harder to break into the top ranks.

The steely-eyed Serb's campaign for a hat-trick of Australian Open titles kicked into overdrive in the late match at Rod Laver Arena, as he demolished the highly-fancied 20-year-old 6-1 6-2 6-3 to charge into the third round.

"I definitely didn't want to underestimate my opponent tonight, even though he's younger than me, still didn't establish himself, you know, as a top 20 or top 30 player," the world number one told reporters after the 91-minute rout.

"But I still knew that he has a quality.

"Mentally he's probably going to go out on the court knowing he doesn't have anything to lose.

"He's going to try to smack serves and forehands. I went with that kind of mindset on the court, just trying to play as sharp as possible from the start, and I've done so."

Bullied on the baseline and broken early in each set, the 62nd-ranked Harrison scrambled hard to make a contest under the lights on centre court, but was left pinned at the back and stunned by Djokovic's shot-making.

It was a harsh reality-check for the American, who had pumped himself up like a prize-fighter prior to the match, talking of taking it up to the five-times grand slam champion.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to Ryan Harrison of the U.S. during their men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz