World No. 1 Djokovic makes great demands on himself
World No. 1 says the more he wins, the higher his expectations rise
Novak Djokovic has been eager to quell expectations that he is hurtling towards a record-equalling sixth Australian Open title, but a clinical performance against Andreas Seppi yesterday proved that he is still the man to beat.
The world No. 1, who is bidding to tie Roy Emerson on six Australian Open titles, stepped closer to a potential semi-final showdown with Roger Federer with a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (8/6) third-round victory over Seppi.
The Italian was a potential banana skin for the Serb, having dumped Federer at the same stage last year, and Djokovic stamped his authority on the match early by racing out to a 5-0 lead.
While the scoreboard indicated a closely-fought contest, Djokovic sealed the important points, including saving two set-points in the third set tie-break.
"I must be pleased with a straight-set win because both sets, especially the third, could have gone a different way," Djokovic said after setting up a fourth-round clash with French 14th seed Gilles Simon.
"I'm still not very satisfied with certain parts of the second and third set. I could have done better.
"But I played a quality player, who took out Federer last year... He is not afraid to play big tennis on a big stage."
Djokovic, who won three Grand Slams among his 11 titles last year, is also not afraid to play on a big stage having dominated the men's game over the last five years.
Of the 20 Grand Slam tournaments played since 2011, the Serb has appeared in 15 finals, winning nine.
He also made four other semi-finals and acknowledged expectations can create added pressure.
"The more you win, actually the higher expectations are from yourself and from others," he said.
"After the season that I've had, (the expectations are that) anything aside from a title or a final is not a success.
"I don't need additional pressure because pressure is part of what we do and it's already there.
"It's present. It comes in big portions, especially in the Grand Slams."
MEN'S SINGLES THIRD ROUND
- Novak Djokovic (x1) bt Andreas Seppi (x28) 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (8/6)
- Roger Federer (x3) bt Grigor Dimitrov (x27) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
- Tomas Berdych (x6) bt Nick Kyrgios (x29) 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
- Kei Nishikori (x7) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (x26) 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (x9) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/4)
- Gilles Simon (x14) bt Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-2, 6-1
- David Goffin (x15) bt Dominic Thiem (x19) 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-5
- Roberto Bautista (x24) bt Marin Cilic (x12) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5