Champion Novak Djokovic put on an impeccable serving display against Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka to canter to a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win in the third round of the Australian Open on Friday, staying on course for a record-extending eighth title at Melbourne Park, Reuters reports.
The Serb, who defeated another Japanese in Tatsuma Ito in his previous round, smashed 17 aces, won 93% points on his first serve and faced just a single breakpoint against the hapless Nishioka in the match that lasted only an hour and 25 minutes.
Considered widely as the best returner of first serves and baseline player among contemporaries, Friday’s match at the Rod Laver Arena showed that Djokovic was also right up there with the best servers in the game. In astonishing statistics, the second seed lost just a single point on serve in the first two sets and eight overall against the 24-year-old Nishioka. “Definitely one of the best serving matches I’ve had lately, inspired by my coach Goran Ivanisevic,” Djokovic said.
“There are a lot of technical details you can talk about, but sometimes less is more. It’s all about the rhythm and balance ... So far, it’s been working really well.” Djokovic, who beat Rafa Nadal in last year’s final to win a record seventh Australian Open title, broke his left-handed opponent’s serve once in the first set, twice each in the next two, and hit 40 winners.
The victory on Friday was the 21st straight win for Djokovic at Grand Slams against left-handed players since the 32-year-old Serb lost to Nadal in the 2014 Roland Garros final.