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Djokovic charges ahead in Thailand Open tennis


Bangkok : Top seed Novak Djokovic crushed Germany’s Simon Stadler 6-1, 6-3 in a runaway start as top seed at the Thailand Open tennis.

The Serbian world No.3 champion wasted little time in revving up his game Thursday, taking the first set in just 22 minutes over the world number 141.

“I’m surprised how well I played in the first set,” said Djokovic. “In the second I had some difficulties but overall it was a good performance.”

Djokovic was broken in the second game of the second set but got it back as he rolled ahead to the easy win. It was the 56th victory of the season for the reigning Australian Open winner.

Djokovic will now play Swede Robin Soderling after the sixth seed crushed Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-1, 6-3.

Djokovic made amends for a first-round loss in Bangkok from 2004 – his only previous appearance – when he competed as a promising teenaged wild card.

Tomas Berdych, seeded third, advanced over Italy’s Simone Bolelli 7-5, 6-1, while Nicolas Mahut stunned fifth seed Jarkko Nieminen, sending the Finn flying out to his earliest career exit at the event 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

The second-round ambush in one hour, 40 minutes put a third French player into the quarter-final after second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and number four Gael Monfils.

Nieminen was less than 24 hours off a crushing of teenaged Marko Djokovic, younger brother of top-seeded Novak. He had reached two Bangkok semi-finals and a quarter-final.

Mahut, ranked 74th to the 33rd of Nieminen, took an early 3-1 lead in the final set only to lose it a game later. But he moved into a winning position with a re-break for 5-3 and served out the win on his first match point.

Sixth seed Soderling rolled to his second straight easy victory, hammering Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia 6-1, 6-3.

The Swede said that he is becoming acclimatised to the indoor surface at the Impact arena after playing last week in an exhibition in Vietnam.

“I only arrived on Sunday night and wasn’t so ready for my first round, said Soderling, who is finally having some success after first-round exits at the Olympics and US Open.

“I played a lot better today than in my previous match. I’ve had some more time on the court and I’m getting used to it.”

Philipp Petzschner continued his momentum after knocking out Marat Safin in the first-round as he defeated fellow-German Mischa Zverev 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-1 in the second round.