Djokovic, Serena move on easily

Ferrer wins; ninth-seed Gasquest ousted

Djokovic, Serena move on easily

Novak Djokovic bared his teeth to finish off Denis Istomin and extend the hottest winning streak in tennis to 27 matches in the third round of the Australian Open on Friday as a cool front brought respite to Melbourne after a four-day heatwave.

Serena Williams earlier made light of the last of the scorching temperatures, which again peaked around 42 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit), to blast her way into the fourth round for the loss of only a dozen games.

China's Li Na escaped defeat by a matter of centimetres in her third round match, while Spain's David Ferrer continued carving his way through the men's draw largely unnoticed.

Ferrer's compatriot Tommy Robredo caused the biggest upset of the day by edging ninth seed Richard Gasquet 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) in an evening thriller disrupted briefly by rain. Djokovic's last defeat was against Rafael Nadal in the US Open final and Istomin never looked like stopping his winning run at 26 matches under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena. Looking to become the first man in the professional era to win four consecutive Australian Opens, second seed Djokovic raced through the first two sets in 70 minutes before the Uzbek suddenly upped his aggression to break the Serbian as he was serving for the match. Djokovic was in no mood to risk the possibility of giving up his first set of the tournament and broke back immediately before overwhelming Istomin with the power of his shots to convert his second match point.

Temperatures are forecast to plummet on Saturday, a huge relief to players and organisers alike after four days of rows over what constitutes dangerous conditions.

"I definitely look forward to playing in the cooler temperatures," said Williams, whose 6-3, 6-3 win over Daniela Hantuchova was a record 61st at the Australian Open, taking her past local great Margaret Court's 60. The next hurdle in the 32-year-old's path to a sixth Australian Open title is Ana Ivanovic after she ended Sam Stosur's hopes of winning her home Grand Slam for another year with a 6-7 (8-10), 6-4, 6-2 victory on Rod Laver Arena.

Ferrer's attritional style was made for hot conditions and he survived a second set wobble to wear down Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and reach the fourth round at a 15th consecutive Grand Slam with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 victory.

Seeded third after Andy Murray missed the back end of last season, Ferrer next faces Florian Mayer with Tomas Berdych or Kevin Anderson waiting in the quarterfinals.

Berdych, by contrast, eased into the fourth round without having dropped a set all week courtesy of a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Bosnian qualifier Damir Dzumhur.

Yuki-Michael through

Wild card entrants Yuki Bhambri and Michael Venus created a big upset by dumping 10th seeded Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, while Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek scored an easy straight sets win on Friday. Yuki and Venus shocked the experienced Dutch-Romanian pair 6-4, 6-4 in the second round in just 64 minutes while Paes and Stepanek scored an easy 6-4, 6-1 win over Lukas Dlouhy and Lukas Rosol in their opening round match. 

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