Australian Open: Djokovic dismantles Ito in Melbourne

Novak Djokovic was never threatened as the 16-time Grand Slam champion swept aside Tatsuma Ito in straight sets in the second round of the Australian Open.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will face Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in the third round of the Australian Open.   -  Getty Images

Novak Djokovic had no trouble moving through to the third round of the Australian Open, outclassing wildcard Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 as his title defence gathered momentum. 

Djokovic was hoping history did not repeat itself on Wednesday, having lost to a wildcard - Denis Istomin - in the second round at Melbourne Park three years ago.

But Djokovic was never threatened as the 16-time Grand Slam champion swept aside Ito in straight sets on Rod Laver Arena midweek.

In warm but breezy conditions, Djokovic barely raised a sweat as the second seed asserted his authority from the outset against the Japanese underdog. Eyeing his record-extending eighth Australian Open crown, the Serb picked his shots with comfort from the baseline, hitting seven winners in a lopsided 22-minute first set.

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After racing through the opener, Djokovic - who dropped a set and won in the Australian Open first round for the first time in his career by getting past Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday - faced a sterner test in the second.

Having only won 50 per cent of his first serves in the opening set, Ito improved by winning 20 of 28, though he was broken in the ninth game and it proved decisive for Djokovic.

The third set was similar to the first as Djokovic dismantled Ito with a relentless display to earn another Japanese date - this time against Yoshihito Nishioka.

Berrettini stunned by Sandgren

Tennys Sandgren sent eighth seed Matteo Berrettini packing from the Australian Open Wednesday as the American eyes another strong performance after his scandal-marred run to the 2018 quarter-finals.

Berrettini, last year's US Open semi-finalist, slumped to defeat in a five-set marathon which finished 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5 in 3hrs 23 mins -- the highest ranked seed to fall so far.

It was a disappointing end for the Italian, who reached the US Open semi-finals and stormed up the rankings last year, reaching a new career-high 10 times.

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“It was a top-10 win in a Slam so I'd say it's up there,” said Sandgren. “I'm not sure where it lies in the ranking list but pretty high.”

Sandgren, a devout Christian, achieved his best Grand Slam result at Melbourne Park in 2018 but it was overshadowed by controversy over his political views and links to right-wing activists.

Sandgren was forced to wipe the slate clean, deleting years of social media postings.

(With inputs from AFP)

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