Nole breezes through second round in Melbourne

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Defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic cruised into the third round of the Australian Open today with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Columbia’s Santiago Giraldo.

The world number one wrapped up his second match in Melbourne in 1 hour and 42 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Like in the first round match, Nole’s opponent was the first to make a break for 2-3, but the Serbian star broke back immediately to balance things up. He broke Giraldo once again in the eighth game and closed the set 6-3 in 41 minutes.

Novak raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set and served it out 6-2 in 32 minutes.

The Belgrade native continued dominating in the third set and won it 6-1 with a triple break to the delight of the crowd.

“You can’t underestimate any opponent and Santiago is a tricky player,” said Nole, who broke the Colombian’s serve seven times during the match. “He came out early hitting the ball quite flat but I knew that sooner or later he’s going to drop the rhythm and I just have to hang in there. I’ve done a good job.”

“It was really important to win the first set. I am trying to be physically fit and fresh for the upcoming rounds. The longer the tournament goes, the tougher it gets.”

Match statistics: aces (9-3), double faults (2-3), winners (27-13), unforced errors (21-39).

Novak will next play against world no.81 Nicolas Mahut. The Frenchman defeated Tatsuma Ito of Japan in four sets.

They met only once, in Metz 2006, our champion won 6-2, 6-3.

“If we get to play on the center court or any of the bigger courts, I will try to use my experience playing on those courts,” said Djokovic. “I think the surface here is a bit slower and bounce is a little bit higher, so maybe it’s more suitable to my style of the game.”

The 24-year-old, who defeated Andy Murray in last year’s Australian Open final, is hoping to join Andre Agassi (4), Roger Federer (4) and Mats Wilander (3) in the list of Open Era champions to win the Australian Open three or more times.

After winning 10 titles in 11 finals last season , and three of the four Grand Slam trophies, Nole is also bidding to become just the fifth man to win three consecutive Grand Slam titles in the Open Era joining Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

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