The top men had another easy day at a windy Australian Open day 3. Novak Djokovic showed dominant form crushing Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in just 95 minutes.
”He was playing pretty aggressive and flat, with not too many unforced errors in the second set. I just managed to somehow find my way,” Djokovic told the crowd. “From my side, my serve helped me a lot to get out of trouble.
”I knew shots would come quick and flat, so I had to be quite low, put some variety on the shots, spins, slices, and come to the net on occasion. It worked well.”
Djokovic has now won his last nine matches in Melbourne and is 8-0 in singles this year. Up next will be another Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka who upset Dan Evans 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
“I’m playing all the Japanese players in the field,” Djokovic said looking ahead. “He’s very quick, probably one of the quickest players we have on the Tour. You know what his strengths are, what his weaknesses are, so hopefully I can execute the game plan.”
Roger Federer flew by a fatigued Filip Krajinovic in the evening 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in 93 minutes, two shorter than Novak’s win.
“I’m very to happy, it’s a great start to the season, felling very relaxed on the court,” Federer said to the crowd.
Federer now meets John Millman in a rematch of the Australian’s big US Open upset win in 2018.
Earlier, Grigor Dimitrov couldn’t finish off his first career 0-2 comeback on Tommy Paul. Dimitrov came from 0-2 down to lead the 22-year-old American serving 5-4, 30-0 when the Bulgarian completely fell apart. Paul played smart, shrugged off some physical issues and forced the tight Dimitrov into a slew of errors to win the match of his career 6-4, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-7(3), 7-6(3) in 4 hours, 19 minutes.
“I’ve never been a part of something like that, honestly. A lot of fun playing in front of all you guys. Towards the end of the fifth, it was you guys who got me through it,” Paul said to the crowd.
Paul next will face Marton Fucsovics who eased past promising 18-year-old Jannik Sinner in straights.
Sinner’s countryman Matteo Berrettini suffered the same fate as Dimitrov. The big Italian fell behind former quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren by two sets only to rally but fall just short and lose in five 7-6(7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5.
Another final set breaker was played as 2018 finalist Marin Cilic outlasted Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-7(6), 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3).
Milos Raonic has his serve humming. The former Australian semifinalist has taken advantage of a good draw and as held all 26 service games after thumping Cristian Garin.
Stefanos Tsitsipas didn’t have to hit a ball as Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew with an ab strain.
Diego Schwartzman, Guido Pella and Roberto Bautista Agut were also winners while Fabio Fognini was locked in a 5-set war with Jordan Thompson.
On tap Thursday, Rafael Nadal is back along with Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stan Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios who meets Gilles Simon.
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