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Djokovic strikes form with Open victory

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic has struck form to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open, looking in excellent touch during a straight-sets routing of Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The Serbian took a medical time-out during Saturday night’s second set for treatment of an apparent hip complaint, but regrouped to claim a 6-2 6-3 6-3 victory in two hours and 21 minutes.

He will face world No.58 Hyeon Chung in the fourth round after the South Korean youngster’s five-set defeat of fourth seed Alexander Zverev.

After labouring through a four-sets win over Gael Monfils in 39C heat on Thursday, Djokovic found another gear in his best performance since his six-month elbow injury layoff.

The 14th seed held serve throughout the match, fired off 37 winners and made excellent use of his lethal two-handed backhand.

After taking the first set in 40 minutes, Djokovic called for the trainers at 2-1 in the second and had work done on his left buttock and hip region.

Forced to sprint to a Ramos drop shot in the following game, Djokovic winced as he limped back to the baseline.

But it proved to be little impediment for the 12-time grand slam winner, who maintained his unbeaten record against the 21st-seed Ramos-Vinolas.

Djokovic was cagey when asked about the medical time-out after booking an 11th fourth-round appearance at Melbourne Park.

“The matches are going to get tougher from now on,” he said.

“The good thing about grand slams, you always have a day off (to use) for recovery and training … and obviously get myself in shape for the next one.”

The 30-year-old said he wouldn’t be getting ahead of himself despite his impressive performance.

“It was a straight-sets win but almost two and a half hours so it wasn’t that easy or comfortable on the court,” he said.

“Obviously for me, it’s taking it one match at a time. I have some incredible memories in Melbourne Park in the last decade of my career.

“I obviously have to be more humble this time with my expectations because I havent played in six months.

“But I’m very pleased with where my game is at at the moment.”

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