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Sinner continues to roll at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner remain on a collision course for the semifinals at the Australian Open.

Only one has come close to going off the rails through two rounds. And it isn’t Sinner.

Djokovic needed four competitive sets to beat 18-year-old qualifier Dino Prizmic in the first round and he was pushed through another four-setter by Alexei Popyrin in in the second round. This time the 10-time champion at Melbourne Park prevailed 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes.

At one set all, Djokovic trailed 4-5, 0-40 in the third. However, all three of Popyrin’s set-point chances went by the wayside. That proved to be the 43rd-ranked Aussie’s last real opportunity, as Djokovic was pretty much in control the rest of the way.

“He had quite an easy forehand and he missed it,” the world No. 1 said of the 4-5 game. “I didn’t do anything special, and I was lucky on that point–[in] that game–to get away. He was the better player I think for a set and a half. In the second set and third set he was the better player.

“Things changed around, and the momentum shifted in the tiebreak. I managed to put the ball more in the court than he did. I don’t think I played at the highest level. In some instances yes, but also credit to him for tactically coming up with the right game plan and serving big. He deserves a big round of applause.”

Sinner, on the other hand, continued to roll. The fourth-ranked Italian earned a second consecutive straight-set win on Wednesday afternoon, this one 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 over Jasper De Jong. It required just one hour and 43 minutes of work. Sinner fired seven aces and did not face a single break point.

Andrey Rublev also cruised in round two, ousting Chris Eubanks 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Among the third-round matchups in the top half of the bracket are Djokovic vs. Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Sinner vs. Sebastian Baez, and Rublev vs. Sebastian Korda.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.