World No. 1 Novak Djokovic continued his impressive start to a potential Australian Open semi-final showdown with Roger Federer with a 6-1 7-5 7-6(6) third round victory over Italy’s Andreas Seppi in Melbourne on Friday.
The five-times Australian Open champion raced out to an opening 5-0 lead before Seppi, who beat Federer in four sets at the same stage last year, finally held his own serve though the Serb clinched the first set in 25 minutes in the next game.
Seppi, however, then rediscovered the form that troubled Federer so much last year and it was only successive lengthy rallies of 20 and 32 shots in the 11th game of the second set that enabled Djokovic to break, then serve out.
The pair remained on serve throughout an evenly matched third set until Djokovic saved two set points in the tiebreak to set up a fourth round clash with 14th seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic was however defeated in the third round at Melbourne Park, beaten 6-4, 7-6 (5), 7-5 by Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.
The 12th-seeded Cilic, who won the U.S. Open in 2014, had a 2-0 career record against Bautista Agut, both on hard courts. The win moved Bautista Agut into the round of 16 here to equal his best tournament — and Grand Slam — performance.
No. 6-seeded Tomas Berdych clinched a 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 win over No. 29 Nick Kyrgios to finish off play Friday on Rod Laver Arena, reaching the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the sixth consecutive year.
Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon finalist, has reached the semifinals at the last two Australian Open tournaments.