| 5.4°C Dublin

Serena and Fed march on in Oz

Normal service resumed at the Australian Open this morning as Roger Federer and Serena Williams booked their places in the second week of the Melbourne-based championship.

Nadia Petrova had given hope to the would-be giantkillers still left in the tournament when she upset Belgian Kim Clijsters yesterday but everything went according to the script in Saturday's third round clashes.

Federer, his confidence growing with each match, provided a masterful display against Spain's Albert Montanes, winning 6-3 6-4 6-4, to extend his incredible record of making it into the last 16 of every grand slam event since the 2004 French Open, and now awaits the winner of the match between Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.

"I don't want to say I'm playing the best tennis of my life, because I haven't had to so far," the world No1 said. "I'm happy I survived a scare against Andreev (in round one). After that, I was able to come through comfortably in the next two rounds (and) into week two.

"I feel like I'm obviously fresh and ready to take on the bigger names."

Williams also turned in her best performance of the week, trouncing Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0 6-3 to remain on track to defend the title she won for the fourth time last year.

Her older sister, Venus, had a tougher time but still managed to carve out a 6-1 7-6 win over Australia's Casey Dellacqua.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic showed he was building the kind of momentum that won him the 2008 title, giving up just four games in a 6-1 6-1 6-2 demolition of Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin.

Nikolay Davydenko also continued to impress those who tipped the Russian as a dark horse for the title after he eased to a routine 6-0 6-3 6-4 victory over Spain's Juan Monaco.

Yet to drop a set at the tournament, Davydenko will play Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round after the Spaniard was gifted a place in the last 16 when his exhausted Austrian opponent, Stefan Koubek, retired from the effects of a mystery virus.

Poland's Lukasz Kubot was also given a free ride into the next stage -- where he'll face Djokovic -- when a wrist injury forced Russia's Mikhail Youzhny to retire from their match.

In trouncing 103rd-ranked Istomin to race into the fourth round, Djokovic spent just one hour and 37 minutes on the Hisense Arena court.





STUTTERED

The Serbian had stuttered through his second-round win over Marco Chiudinelli when he dropped the first set, but there was no repeat of those problems against the Uzbek.

And the draw has opened up for Djokovic, who is yet to play a seed, and will meet world No86 Lukasz Kubot in the next round.

The 27-year-old Pole has never gone as far in a grand slam and only earned his place after Youzhny was forced to pull out on the eve of their third-round match because of a wrist injury.

Both players will be fully refreshed for that battle after Djokovic's speedy progression today.

The completely out-classed Istomin at least provided some entertainment for the crowd late in the match when, after winning his second game of the third set, he raised his racquet in a sarcastic celebration to earn their applause.


Privacy