World No.1 Novak Djokovic and No.5 Kei Nishikori advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open after fighting tough first sets with their opponents.
Djokovic faced Fernando Verdasco, a player known for his tenacity and fighting skills. True to his reputation, Verdasco played his heart out as he had nothing to lose against the World No.1, taking him to a dramatic first set tie-breaker.
Djokovic was made to dig deep to win the tie-breaker as Verdasco was in no mood to tire, reaching out for every ball and keeping it back in play.
Verdasco had said that there would be more pressure on Djokovic before their match, as he had nothing to lose and only more to gain.
It is a match that I’ll have nothing to lose and a lot to win
I will just go out there and try my best and fight every ball and hopefully I will have my best day.
Though the scoreline, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, 6-4 sounded a pretty breezy victory for Djokovic, it actually wasn’t so.
Every point was a marathon and Djokovic should be relieved that he could break Verdasco’s serve in the second and third sets or otherwise it could have been a repeat show of the Semifinal between Nadal and Verdasco in 2009.
Meanwhile, Kei Nishikori the Japanese heartthrob faced jitters in the first set before coming back strongly to take the second, third and fourth sets.
The Japanese star looked unsettled and was taken into a tie-breaker in the first set which he lost to the little known American, Steve Johnson.
But Kei switched gears and was in cruise mode from the second set as he sent Johnson packing following a dominant display on court.
Nishikori won 6-7 (9-7), 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 29 minutes on Hisense Arena and will now face David Ferrer in the fourth round.
It was a nice battle and I was playing solid in the last couple of sets, so it was a very good win today
I think from now on it will be a tougher opponent coming up, but I’ve won three good matches so it was exciting to play here today
In the other result of the day, Defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka continued his good form in the tournament as he sailed comfortably to the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen.