Djokovic, Ferrer power into Open third round

by Robert SMITH, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 16 2014 10:13 AM | Updated as of Jan 16 2014 06:13 PM

Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to Leonardo Mayer of Argentina during their men's singles match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 15, 2014. Photo by Jason Reed, Reuters.

MELBOURNE - Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer battled through intense heat to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Second seed Djokovic stepped it up from his mixed first-round performance to ease past Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 for his 23rd straight win at the Open.

Third seed Ferrer, who lost in last year's semi-final to Djokovic, needed just over three hours to overcome Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, winning 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 on Hisense Arena.

Djokovic may have retired with heat distress in Melbourne four years ago against Andy Roddick, but he handled Wednesday's 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) temperatures without difficulty.

"As the years go by, I'm more matured as a player, I've learned new things in life," he said.

"I physically got stronger -- mentally also. All of this plays an important role when you are playing in such conditions.

"Generally it's much more efficient for me nowadays to recover and to get ready for next point than it used to be 2009 when I retired in my match against Roddick."

Djokovic, unconquered at Melbourne Park since 2010, broke Mayer's service five times and did not face a break point on his own serve in his one hour 47 minutes on court.

He is bidding to become only the second man after Australia's Roy Emerson to win four consecutive Australian Opens and his fifth overall in Melbourne.

It was an improved performance by the Serb after his sloppy first-round effort against Slovakia's Lukas Lacko on Monday.

He also hit 30 winners to just 11 unforced errors while Mayer made 39 errors.

Djokovic's next opponent will be Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, who got past Russian 30th seed Dmitry Tursunov in four sets.

Spain's Ferrer had a tougher work-out against the 71st-ranked Mannarino, losing the second set and having his serve broken five times. He made 48 unforced errors to his 32 winners, while the Frenchman committed 73 errors.

Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych accounted for Frenchman Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 and French ninth seed Richard Gasquet only needed three sets to eliminate Russian Nicolay Davydenko.

Elsewhere, Spanish 17th seed Tommy Robredo overcame Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 7-6 (8/6) and Polish 20th seed Jerzy Janowicz won two tiebreakers to put away Spain's Pablo Andujar.

French 29th seed Jeremy Chardy eliminated Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5) while Germany's Florian Mayer upset Russian 14th seed Mikhail Youzhny in five sets.

Bosnia and Herzegovina qualifier Damir Dzumhur advanced to the last 32 following the retirement of Croatian 32nd seed Ivan Dodig with leg cramps while trailing in the fourth set.

Among the late matches, Switzerland's eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka fought past Alejandro Falla of Colombia in four sets. Top drawcards Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer all play on Thursday.

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