Australian Open - Dominant Novak Djokovic marches past Fernando Verdasco

Novak Djokovic eased into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a routine 7-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Fernando Verdasco.

Novak Djokovic wins against Fernando Verdasco
Novak Djokovic wins against Fernando Verdasco

Not even the distraction of a spectator proposing to his girlfriend could prevent top seed Novak Djokovic from easing into the last 16 of the Australian Open on Saturday.

The romantic fan popped the question after the second set of Djokovic's third-round match with Fernando Verdasco and received not only a 'yes', but a massive cheer from the rest of the crowd on Rod Laver Arena and applause from Djokovic himself.

By that stage Djokovic had weathered the storm and was two sets ahead, the world number one crucially winning a tie-break in the opening set after failing to convert any of his six break points.

"Credit to Fernando, it was a great match," Djokovic said in an on-court interview with four-time grand slim winner Jim Courier. "Fernando is a top-10 player, he has played in the final stages of grand slams and big tournaments. He has big power in his game.

"Every time I had an opportunity for the break he came up with a service winner or an ace and obviously it was frustrating but I had to keep it together and the difference was made in the first set when I won the tie-break."

Verdasco was favourite to win that tie-break when an ace took him 5-3 ahead with another serve to come, but a terrible double fault let Djokovic off the hook and the Serbian eventually took his fourth set point to win it 10-8.

Djokovic claimed an early break in the second set and crucially saved three break points in the next game with a hat-trick of aces. From then on there was only ever going to be one winner and Djokovic celebrated his 7-6 (10/8) 6-3 6-4 win by getting the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to his mother Dijana.

Next up for the four-time champion is Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, who won a big-serving battle with American John Isner that unsurprisingly featured tie-breaks in the first two sets and a total of 54 aces.

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