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Novak Djokovic braces for stern test against veteran slayer Tomas Martin Etcheverry

Novak Djokovic roars at the crowd during his second round match
Novak Djokovic roars at the crowd during his second round matchReuters
Novak Djokovic's (36) peerless pedigree and experience at the Australian Open might just make him the perfect target for Tomas Martin Etcheverry (24), who is fast making a habit of eliminating veterans at Melbourne Park.

Argentine Etcheverry has been in terrific form this week, knocking out both Gael Monfils (38) and Andy Murray (36) in straight sets to set up a third-round match against Djokovic on Friday.

Djokovic, a 24-time Grand Slam champion, has been far from his best having struggled at times in gritty wins over Dino Prizmic and Alexei Popyrin at the first major of the year.

The Serbian, who along with Monfils and Murray was part of a crop of elite men's players that broke through in the mid 2000s, said he would do his homework ahead of his clash with Etcheverry to avoid meeting the same fate as his contemporaries.

"I didn't see him playing, but he beat Monfils and Murray, quite comfortably both matches," the 10-time Australian Open champion, who beat Etcheverry in ATP 1000 events in Paris and Rome last year, told reporters.

"I will have to do my homework and see how he played those matches. He's obviously playing maybe the tennis of his life on the hard court. Tomas is a great guy. I get along very well with him and his team...

"I'm going to try to learn from the previous matches we had. I have to be very, very prepared and ready for that."

Top-10 ranked players Jannik Sinner (22), Stefanos Tsitsipas (25), Andrey Rublev (25) and Alex de Minaur (24) will also be in action on Friday.

Among the women, defending champion and second-seeded Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (25) takes on Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko (34) in a match that will have the Ukraine conflict as a point of tension.

The pair were last scheduled to face each other at Indian Wells in 2023, but Tsurenko withdrew from the match after a talk with WTA chief executive Steve Simon about tennis's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, for which Belarus has been used as a staging ground.

American fourth seed Coco Gauff (19), the reigning US Open champion, meets compatriot Alycia Parks (23) while local hope Storm Hunter (29) takes on ninth-seeded Czech Barbora Krejcikova (28).

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