Tennis: Djokovic overcomes tricky Seppi to make fourth round, will play Simon

Djokovic celebrates after winning his third round match against Andreas Seppi.
Djokovic celebrates after winning his third round match against Andreas Seppi.PHOTO: REUTERS

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Tennis' world No. 1 Novak Djokovic continued his path to a potential Australian Open semi-final showdown with Roger Federer, with a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) third-round victory over Italy's Andreas Seppi on Friday.

The five-time Australian Open champion raced out to an opening 5-0 lead before Seppi, who beat Federer in four sets at the same stage last year, finally held his own serve though the Serb clinched the first set in 25 minutes in the next game.

Seppi, however, then rediscovered the form that troubled Federer so much last year and it was only successive lengthy rallies of 20 and 32 shots in the 11th game of the second set that enabled Djokovic to break, then serve out.

The pair remained on serve throughout an evenly matched third set until Djokovic saved two set points in the tie-break to set up a fourth-round clash with 14th seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.