Seventh seed Ljubicic beats Lopez in Melbourne
Ljubicic has been well-supported by Melbourne's expatriate Croatian community.
Fri Jan 20, 2006 12:40 PM GMT
MELBOURNE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Seventh seed Ivan Ljubicic extended his good start to the new year with a 7-5 7-6 6-0 victory over Spain's Feliciano Lopez in the Australian Open third round on Friday.
Ljubicic, who beat Carlos Moya in the Chennai Open final before arriving in Australia, is unbeaten in seven competitive matches in 2006 and this victory moved him into the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time in seven appearances. The 26-year-old, in Croatia's Davis Cup-winning team in December, dominated against the left-handed 31st seed despite the close score in the first two sets.
The match would have been closer to a rout had Ljubicic converted more than just five of the 17 break points he accumulated. Three of his five breaks came in the final set. Ljubicic will now meet 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson in what should be a raucous occasion. Johannson has been cheered by a large group of Swedish fans wearing traditional blue and yellow t-shirts and Viking helmets while Ljubicic has been well-supported by Melbourne's expatriate Croatian community.