Djokovic, Murray on course for semifinal showdown in Melbourne

    World No.1 and top seed Novak Djokovic has won the Australian Open in each of the last two seasons.

    Story highlights

    • World No. 1 and top seed Novak Djokovic into last 32 at Australian Open
    • Reigning champion is on course to meet fourth seed Andy Murray in the semifinals
    • World No. 4 Murray eases past Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in straight sets
    • Home-crowd favorite Lleyton Hewitt advances after 14th seed Andy Roddick retires injured
    World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and fourth seed Andy Murray remain on course for a semifinal clash at the Australian Open after both players stormed into the third round on Thursday.
    Defending champion Djokovic was broken early in the first set against Colombian world No. 56 Santiago Giraldo and fell 2-3 behind, but the four-time grand slam winner responded in ruthless fashion to seal a 6-3 6-2 6-1 win.
    "To be honest, I've had lots of situations where I was a break down in my career, so I guess that doesn't affect me," the 24-year-old told reporters.
    "Especially early in the first set, I knew that I will start hitting the ball better."
    The Serbian will look for a 10th win in a row at the Melbourne grand slam when he takes on 81st-ranked Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, who beat Japan's Tatsuma Ito 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 6-2.
    Britain's Murray, beaten by Djokovic in last year's final, was in equally imperious form as he breezed past France's world No. 101 Edouard Roger-Vasselin to reach the last 32.
    World No. 4 Murray rarely looked troubled as he wrapped up a 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory in just under two hours.
    "I served well today and obviously got off to a better start," said Murray. "I thought towards the end of the second set, beginning of the third especially, he started playing much better.
    "He was taking the ball early, trying to come to the net, which made it difficult. Because I served well, I set the point up with my first serve pretty well. I got quite a few short replies off of that. That was probably why I hit more winners. The unforced errors were down."
    The three-time grand slam finalist also has French opposition in the next round in world No. 46 Michael Llodra, who overcame Russian 32nd seed Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-1 3-6 6-4 5-7 6-4 in a marathon three hours and 13 minutes.
    American Andy Roddick, a four-time semifinalist at the season's first grand slam, was forced to withdraw from his contest with fellow former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt.
    Two-time grand slam winner Hewitt, who needed a wildcard entry due to his current low ranking of 181, led 3-6 6-3 6-4 before 15th seed Roddick retired due to a injury sustained after falling in the second set.
    The Australian will next face Canadian rising star Milos Raonic. The 23rd seed, named ATP newcomer of the year in 2011, won 6-4 5-7 6-2 7-5 against Germany's world No. 63 Philipp Petzschner.
    French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won 7-5 6-4 6-4 against 108th-ranked Brazilian Ricardo Mello.
    The 2008 runner-up will meet Portugal's world No.107 Frederico Gil, who caused an upset by beating Spanish 26th seed Marcel Granollers 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-3.
    David Ferrer, a 2011 Davis Cup winner with Spain, was stretched by 68th-ranked American Ryan Sweeting before winning 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 3-6 6-2 6-3.
    The fifth seed earned a contest with Argentina's No. 27 Juan Ignacio Chela, who ousted 45th-ranked Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-4 6-3.
    Serbian ninth seed Janko Tipsarevic ended the hopes of Australian debutant James Duckworth -- who turns 20 on Saturday -- with a 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 win.
    Tipsarevic will play French 17th seed Richard Gasquet as he aims to go beyond the third round in Melbourne for the first time. Gasquet led world No. 146 Andrey Golubev by two sets before the Kazakh was forced to retire.
    Twelfth seed Gilles Simon suffered a shock defeat by 39th-ranked fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who blew a two-set lead before taking the decider 6-2.
    The 30-year-old Benneteau, seeking to make the fourth round for the first time, will play Japanese 24th seed Kei Nishikori -- who came from two sets down to beat Australia's 94th-ranked Matthew Ebden 3-6 1-6 6-4 6-1 6-1.
    Serbian 19th seed Viktor Troicki went out in five sets against Kazakhstan's world No. 92 Mikhail Kukushkin, who earned a meeting with 14th seed Gael Monfils after the Frenchman beat Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci 2-6 6-0 6-4 6-2.