Australian Open: Novak Djokovic barely got out of first gear

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Go into the Australian Open fourth round Friday and Novak Djokovic barely got from first gear in a sizzling performance to thrash Yoshihito Nishioka, closing in on a record eighth title.

The Serbian champion swept to reach a Grand Slam round of 16 for the 50th time — second only to Roger Federer’s 67.

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“That is one of the best service games I have had recently,” said the world number two after firing 17 aces, along with 40 winners.

“I was inspired by my coach Goran (Ivanisevic) who came out today. He brings a lot of insight”

He will next play 14th seed Diego Schwartzman for a location in the quarter-finals after the Argentinian beat Djokovic’s countryman Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7).

“Diego is definitely among the fastest on tour. Hopefully, if I serve as great as I did today, I feel I have a decent opportunity,” said the next seed.

Djokovic gave off only 3 games into his first and only meeting with left-hander Nishioka at the Davis Cup last year and the 24-year-old fared little better in Melbourne Park.

He had been busted up in his first service game and was no match for precision and the power of this 16-time Grand Slam winner.

As he moved through the gears the knife twisted with another break in the second set.

Nishioka became despondent with Djokovic before the run was brought by a double fault to a halt, doing wrong, winning 34 points in a row on his serve.

When Nishioka sent a forehand wide, he wrapped up the rout.

Djokovic is trying to become only the third man to win eight or more titles in the same Grand Slam after Rafael Nadal (12 in Roland Garros) and Roger Federer (eight at Wimbledon).