MELBOURNE, Australia—Novak Djokovic absorbed plenty of pressure from Radek Stepanek before advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open, then unleashed some stinging shots at Lance Armstrong after the long-expected confession from the drug-tainted cyclist.
Djokovic broke the 34-year-old, 34th-ranked Stepanek late in each set of a 6 -4, 6-3, 7-5 win Friday, extending his winning streak to 17 matches at the Australian Open.
In the next match on Rod Laver Arena, Maria Sharapova beat Venus Williams 6-1, 6-3 in an unexpectedly lopsided third-round result.
Williams could consider herself fortunate—Sharapova’s opponents in her first two matches failed to win a game from the Russian star.
Sharapova, who pumped her arms six or seven times after she served out with an ace, has lost just four games so far heading into her fourth-round match against unseeded Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.
“I think when we both looked at the draw, it was a match-up we were both looking forward to,” Sharapova said.
At Djokovic’s post-match news conference, the questions quickly turned from tennis to another sporting star—Armstrong’s confessions about doping in cycling during his television interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“I think it’s a disgrace for the sport to have an athlete like this,” said Djokovic, the No. 1-ranked man in tennis. “He cheated the sport. He cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story.” AP