Djokovic digs deep for victory
Novak Djokovic was given a thorough work out by Radek Stepanek before booking his place in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
Stepanek threw some different challenges at the world number one - charging the net on 67 occasions - but Djokovic was still too strong, winning 6-4 6-3 7-5 in two hours 22 minutes.
The contest featured a host of wonderful rallies with both players pushed to the limit and Djokovic admitted it was enjoyable to play in.
"It was a great match, great fun," he said. "He is a very talented player, very skilful. He made a lot of great first volleys and made me play the extra ball.
"He was chipping and charging, not a lot of players do this any more. A lot of the players stay on the baseline."
Djokovic has looked good in the first week and will play either Sam Querrey or Stanislas Wawrinka in round four.
"I have played well in the first few rounds, slowly getting into my rhythm," he said. "I can play better but I cannot be dissatisfied with my performances."
The first two sets were similar - Stepanek holding his own before Djokovic struck at key times.
The top seed broke through in the 10th game to claim the opener when Stepanek netted a makeable volley and a wonderful backhand pass handed him a 5-3 advantage in the second.
It remained on serve in the third until 5-5 when Stepanek dumped a weak backhand into the net at 15-40.