Ominous Novak Djokovic pummels Istomin, enters Australian Open fourth round

Reuters| Updated: Jan 18, 2014, 00:37 AM IST

Melbourne: Novak Djokovic`s bid for a fourth successive title at Melbourne Park shifted up a gear with an impressive 6-3 6-3 7-5 win over Uzbek Denis Istomin on Friday, booking the Serb a place in the Australian Open fourth round.

The second seed was a model of controlled aggression under the lights of Rod Laver Arena, punishing Istomin`s lack of court speed before picking him off with 31 crisp winners.

With new coach Boris Becker watching from the player`s box, Djokovic was ruffled when broken for the first time serving for the match at 5-4 and threw a few icy stares at a rowdy pocket of fans.

But he roared in triumph after breaking back immediately and closed it out on the second match point when Istomin pushed a shot wide. Djokovic will play Italian 15th seed Fabio Fognini for a place in the quarter-finals.