AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2013
Djokovic, Tipsarevic Advance In Contrasting Styles
by ATP Staff|
There was late-night Serbian drama at the Australian Open on Wednesday night, but not for World No. 1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, who swept aside Ryan Harrison 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena. Over on Show Court 2 at the same time, though, Djokovic’s Davis Cup teammate Janko Tipsarevic needed just under four hours to fight past Lukas Lacko.
The 25-year-old Djokovic sent out a message to his rivals as he blitzed upcoming American Harrison in one hour and 31 minutes. The Belgrade native hit 37 winners to just 16 unforced errors and didn’t face a break point in the contest. He is bidding to become the first man in the Open Era to win three successive Australian Open titles after victory in 2011 (d. Murray) and 2012 (d. Nadal).
"I definitely didn't want to underestimate my opponent tonight, I still knew that he has a quality," said Djokovic. "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."
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“He's going to be tough for anybody in this tournament,” said Harrison. “How are you going to take control of a guy whenever he's putting the ball a foot from the baseline and absolutely tagging it?”
Eighth seed Tipsarevic looked set to cruise into the third round when he took a two-set lead over Lacko. However, the Slovak came storming back to force a fifth set before Tipsarevic eventually prevailed 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-5. Tipsarevic had led 5-2 in the decider, holding two match points, before Lacko again rallied to level. But the Serb broke decisively in the 12th game to clinch victory.
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The 28-year-old Tipsarevic came into Melbourne on the back of winning his fourth ATP World Tour title at the Aircel Chennai Open (d. Bautista-Agut). The right-hander will look to reach the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time when he faces No. 32 seed Julien Benneteau. Benneteau won an all-French clash with Edouard Roger-Vasselin 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(5), 7-6(5).
Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, the No. 22 seed, impressed in a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Belgium’s Xavier Malisse. The left-hander, who reached the semi-finals in Melbourne four years ago (l. to Nadal), hit 31 winners and broke Malisse eight times from 15 opportunities. He goes onto face the in-form Kevin Anderson, who defeated Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1, 7-5, 6-4. South African Anderson reached the Apia International Sydney final last week (l. to Tomic) and has equalled his best Grand Slam showing by reaching the third round.