World No 1 Novak Djokovic has strolled into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over Czech veteran Radek Stepanek.
The defending champion overcame the 31st seed 6-4 6-3 7-5.
Stepanek, 34, had a break point in the seventh game which he was unable to convert then didn’t get another until the eighth game of the third set, such was the top seed’s dominance.
It was an entertaining affair but Djokovic remained in control throughout.
Djokovic will play the winner of a third-round clash between American Sam Querrey and Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.
The 25-year-old Serb was forced to defend Stepanek’s classic serve-volley tactics, with the Czech coming to the net 67 times.
‘‘That’s more than I do in a year,’’ Djokovic quipped after the match.
‘‘Much of the game these days is based around the baseline so it’s nice to see someone coming to the net.’’
Djokovic said he felt he was slowly getting into his rhythm, as he bids for his third successive Australian Open crown.
Fellow Serb eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic had a much tougher time, having to battle his way back from two sets to one down to beat Frenchman Julien Benneteau 3-6 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-3.
‘‘It’s good for the crowd to watch me play but it’s really no good for my legs,’’ Tipsarevic said after what was his second successive five-set match. ‘‘I just hope the coach is preparing me an ice bath.
‘‘Tomorrow I’m going to have an easy hit and a rest ... I really feel I’ve played enough tennis.’’
Tipsarevic will next meet Spanish 10th seed Nicolas Almagro.
Almagro beat Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 7-6(7-3) 7-6(7-4) 6-1. AAP