World no. 2 Novak Djokovic will compete in the third round of the Australian Open for the 13th time, defeating Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 35 minutes. It was another impressive performance from the seven-time champion at this event, landing 72% of the first serve in and barely losing a point on it.
Overall, a player with a wild card grabbed six points on the return, staying away from break chances and allowing the Serb to convert five out of nine break opportunities and advance into the next round where he faces another Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka.
Novak was the ruler of the court with 31 winners and 17 unforced errors, controlling the pace and struggling to make an impression on the return only in set number two, although his victory was never in doubt. Djokovic held at 15 in the first game with a service winner and grabbed a break in game two when Ito sent a backhand long, delivering another comfortable hold with a forehand winner after that to move 3-0 up.
The Serb extended the advantage when the Japanese netted a backhand in the next game, sealing the opener with three winners in game seven for a 6-1 after 22 minutes. Tatsuma managed to save break points in the third game of the second set, staying in touch until the ninth game when Novak broke him to move 5-4 in front, closing the set with an ace in the next game and taking another big step towards the last 32.
The Serb grabbed an early break in set number three after another error from his opponent, extending the lead to 4-1 and moving over the top with a hold at 15 in game eight, happy with the way he performed ahead of more serious challenges in the next rounds.
"Credit to Ito for fighting until the end. The second set was really close and the conditions were tough today; it was very unpredictable where the ball will go in the windy conditions; he was playing well in the second set, aggressive and with not many mistakes from the back of the court.
I still managed to find a way of beating him and it was my serve that helped me get out of trouble. In conditions like this, you have to focus on yourself and what you need to do. You have to keep the balance and stay in the comfort zone despite the wind; I knew Ito will hit flat and I had to stay low and find some variety with my spins and slices, also to come to the net occasionally.
I guess I'm playing all the Japanese players in the field and I will prepare for the next challenge similar to what I did for Ito. Nishioka is a left-hander and probably one of the quickest players on the Tour. We played in the Davis Cup Finals, I know his strengths and weaknesses and hopefully, I will be able to execute a game plan."