A WELCOME wind blew away the stifling heat at Melbourne Park today but there was no diverting Novak Djokovic from his path to a third straight Australian Open title as he marched into the fourth round without giving up a set.
Playing with the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena because of a few drops of rain that accompanied the cooler weather, Djokovic's 6-4 6-3 7-5 victory over Czech Radek Stepanek, 34, was by no means a cakewalk and the world number one had to work for every point in the 142-minute encounter, getting a good workout, particularly at the net, before sealing the win with a forehand pass.
Pole Agnieszka Radwanska also continued her red-hot start to the year, notching up win number 12 with a 6-3 6-1 victory over Britain's Heather Watson in their third round tie.
The fourth seed claims she is not superstitious, which might be a good thing as she will look to extend that run to 13 successive wins in the fourth round against 13th seed Ana Ivanovic.
Former French Open champion Ivanovic won the battle of the Serbian former world number ones against Jelena Jankovic 7-5 6-3 before saying that their fierce rivalry was still intense.
"You have that with everyone you play -- and especially someone coming from your country," she said. "I think there is healthy rivalry too because you kind of push each other."
Another former French Open champion, Li Na, also progressed as China's last representative in Melbourne, setting up a fourth-round match against German Julia Goerges with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Sorana Cirstea.
Li reached the final in 2011 and will fancy her chances of going deep again this year, especially in the absence of the retired Kim Clijsters, who beat her in her last two appearances at the year's first grand slam.
The number of Americans and the number of teenagers in the women's draw were both reduced by one when Madison Keys was knocked out by German fifth seed Angelique Kerber in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena.
Keys was one of five American women to make the third round and was proud of her part in the renaissance.
"I think this is probably the best America's done in a grand slam in a long time ... I think that if we keep working hard we can have better results," she said.