No. 2 Novak Djokovic hardly broke a sweat as he dispatched No. 15 Fabio Fognini in straight sets.
We've come to expect the Djoker to advance to at least the final of every Grand Slam, so when he performs well in the fourth round, it's not going to make waves.
But the mechanical way in which Djokovic took apart Fognini deserves admiration. He was unrelenting in his pursuit of victory, and the 26-year-old Italian was merely a speed bump along the way. He needed only an hour and a half in order to advance to the next round.
The Djoker had 33 winners to Fognini's 20, with the Italian committing 44 unforced errors, more than twice as many as Djokovic's 21.
Fognini needed to play the perfect game if he was to have any chance of winning, which meant he could ill afford to drop serve. Four games into the first set, that's exactly what he did to hand Djokovic a 3-1 lead. From there, the Serbian star merely needed to hold serve and the first set would be his.
Not only did the second seed not drop serve, he lost only a single point when serving to Fognini. In total, Djokovic lost a whopping 10 points on serve. Djokovic won 88 percent of his first serves and 71 percent of his second serves.
When he's playing that well, you may as well go ahead and concede.
And that's pretty much what Fognini did. In the second set and into the third, it was pretty clear that the Italian had all but given up. Even a little surge to start the third couldn't mask what was a disappointing performance from Fognini.
It's a Grand Slam event, and he couldn't have been bothered to exert much of an effort. Andrew Jerell Jones wondered if Sam Querrey would've been tougher competition for Djokovic:
You can understand how losing to one of the best players in the world can be demoralizing. The way that he capitulated, though, was a bit surprising.
As ESPN Tennis pointed out, it was the first time Fognini reached the fourth round of the Australian Open. Unfortunately, he had little time to smell the roses:
At least he found ways to keep himself entertained, per the Australian Open's Twitter:
The second set was more of the same, with Djokovic asserting his dominance. He bulldozed Fognini, so much so that the crowd whistled at points to voice their displeasure about how one-sided the match was. Following the drama of the Ana Ivanovic-Serena Williams match, there couldn't have been a worse way to take the air out of the stadium.
Fognini made the third set a little interesting, but the damage had already been done. There was no going back, and it was only a matter of time before Djokovic wrapped up the match in three.
He'll meet the winner of the fourth-round matchup between No. 17 Tommy Robredo and No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka.
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