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Djokovic, Jankovic among those to reach 4th round

ETHNIC violence flared after defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat Bosnian-born American Amer Delic at the Australian Open today.

The 21-year-old Serb lost a set for the first time in the tournament and had to fend off two set points in the fourth before beating Delic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Moments after Djokovic and Delic had embraced at the net, smiled and waved to all parts of the crowd in Rod Laver Arena, water bottles and plastic chairs were hurled back and forth between the Bosnian and Serb fans who had been watching the match live on a big TV screen next to the arena.

One Bosnian girl was hit in the head with a plastic chair and stumbled from the area on the arms of friends as police and security staff rushed to separate the rivals. The loud, angry scuffle was over within two minutes, and police took many of the participants to another area for questioning.

Victoria state police said 30 people were ejected. Two men, aged 21 and 18, were charged with riotous behavior. Another man was fined on the spot for riotous behavior.

In a separate incident, police said a foreign man was charged with indecent exposure after running -- naked from the waist down -- onto Show Court 3 during Serena and Venus Williams' 6-3, 6-3 win over Ayumi Morita and Martina Muller in a second-round doubles match.

Delic and Djokovic said they were disappointed with the trouble outside the stadium after their good-spirited match.

"I'm really sad to hear about that," Delic said of the scuffle. "There's absolutely no place for that here. This is a tennis match.

"Novak and I are friends. We're both competitors, obviously. In the end it was a fair match, and there was no reason for such things."

No. 127-ranked Delic got into the draw as a lucky loser from qualifying when Nicolas Kiefer withdrew with an injured ankle. Delic rallied to win two five-set matches to make the third round, his best run at a major.

After complaints about his fans trading chants with Serbian spectators across the court in a previous match, Delic had put a message on his website urging calm ahead of the Djokovic match.

"I don't know who started, who finished, or whatever. Either way, I mean, on both sides I'm sure there were guys that wanted to cause problems," he said. "It's like that everywhere in the world.

"Unfortunately, it happened here today. I'm sure some innocent people might have gotten injured. It's sad."

Djokovic said he tried to focus on tennis, adding that fans inside Rod Laver Arena were well behaved.

"We had a nice match. It was really enjoyable to play and enjoyable to watch. The crowd enjoyed it.

"I was very happy with the way the Serbs and Bosnians were cheering, you know, reacting on everything."

In the tie-breaker, Djokovic challenged a call and stopped a rally, risking losing the point if he was wrong.

He wasn't, forcing a replay and winning the point when Delic double-faulted.

"I might have looked confident, but I was not. It was very lucky," said Djokovic, who beat Roger Federer in the semifinals here last year and claimed his first major. "Sometimes you need luck."

Djokovic plays the winner of today's later match between American Mardy Fish and 2006 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis.

No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3, 7-5, remaining the only Argentine man still in the draw of the nine who started the tournament.

The 20-year-old del Potro won the Auckland title coming into Melbourne and is on a seven-match winning streak.

No. 19 Marin Cilic of Croatia had an upset 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 11 David Ferrer of Spain.

On the women's side, top-ranked Jelena Jankovic of Serbia advanced 6-4, 6-4 over veteran Japanese player Ai Sugiyama. She'll next play 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marian Bartoli of France, who beat Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Olympic silver medalist Dinara Safina reached the fourth round for the first time in seven trips to the Australian Open with a 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 25 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.

"There's a first time for everything. Twice I lost in the third round," said the 22-year-old Russian, the 2008 French Open finalist. "I was like this today: 'That is the third time. Should be the luckiest one."'

Fellow Russians Vera Zvonareva and Nadia Petrova are also in the fourth round.

Security was tight across Melbourne Park for the Djokovic-Delic match. In 2007, police ejected more than 150 fans one day from the same area after hostilities escalated between ethnic groups.


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