Djokovic steamrolls into fourth round at Indian Wells

Updated: Mar 16, 2011, 09:25 AM IST

Indian Wells: Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic extended his perfect record this season to 14-0 by pulverising Ernests Gulbis 6-0, 6-1 in the third round of the Indian Wells ATP tournament on Tuesday.

Seemingly in a rush to reach his third consecutive final this year, the third-seeded Serb broke an error-prone Gulbis three times in the opening set and twice in the second to steamroll to victory in just under an hour.

The stands surrounding the showpiece stadium court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden were barely a quarter full when Djokovic fired down his fourth ace of the day to end a heavily lopsided match.

"I am just trying to play as best as I can," world number three Djokovic said courtside after beating the Latvian for a fourth time in five meetings. "I couldn`t have asked for a better start to this year."

"The last three months have been unbelievable. I`m just trying to keep this going."

Djokovic, who claimed his second grand slam crown at the Australian Open in January and his 20th ATP World Tour title at last month`s Dubai championships, was in imperious form against Gulbis.

Hitting his groundstrokes crisply from behind the baseline, he swept through the first set in only 26 minutes and then broke his 31st-seeded opponent for a fourth time early in the second to tighten his grip.

When Gulbis held serve for the only time in the match to trail 1-3 after a Djokovic forehand sailed wide, the crowd erupted with cheers and whistles in a bid to give the hapless Latvian a lift.

However Djokovic, champion here as a 20-year-old in 2008, again broke Gulbis in the seventh game before serving out to seal the win.

"You always expect a hard fight," the Serb said of his 22-year-old opponent, a gifted player who has yet to realise his rich potential. "He has very powerful groundstrokes and a strong serve."

"Today he made so many unforced errors, he made my life easy."

Djokovic will next meet either 16th-seeded fellow Serb Viktor Troicki or 24th-seeded Frenchman Michael Llodra.

In another third-round match on Tuesday, seventh-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych crushed 26th seed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-3, 6-2.

Swiss world number two Roger Federer was scheduled to continue his bid for a record fourth title at Indian Wells in a match with Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela later on Tuesday.

Bureau Report