Nole is through to the fourth round of the third Grand Slam tournament of the season.
Defending Wimbledon champion and recent Roland Garros finalist continued his form at the All England Club with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Radek Stepanek in 2 hours and 49 minutes.
The 25-year-old Serbian star, who lifted his first Wimbledon trophy last year (d. Nadal), improved to 7-1 lifetime against the 28th-seeded Czech and recorded his 41st grass-court match win.
Novak earned five break points in the opening set, but couldn’t convert any of them. Stepanek got himself out of trouble with aces and service winners and managed to capitalise on his first opportunity to break in the tenth game to take the set 6-4.
The top seed remained calm and determined, and showed his arsenal of shots in the rest of the match. Apart from that small blip at the end of the first set, he was pretty impressive. We saw quick and easy service holds for the world no.1, and he broke Stepanek twice in each of the sets for triple 6-2 score.
“He was very aggressive, it was a tough match, but I think I played the second, third and fourth sets very well,” Novak said. “He’s a very tricky player, very experienced, and one of the few players who comes to the net. I love these conditions under the roof. I’ll enjoy a couple of days off now – a spot of golf, and then try to improve my game for the next challenge.”
Match statistics: aces (9-6), double faults (1-1), winners (49-27), unforced errors (13-19), total points won (128-93).
Novak will play against his friend and compatriot Viktor Troicki for a place in the quarter-finals. Troicki upset no.15 seed Argentine Juan Monaco in straight sets 7-5, 7-5, 6-3.
Djokovic will take a 11-1 H2H record into their fourth round encounter on Monday. They last met in Miami three months ago, Nole won 6-3, 6-4.
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