Novak Djokovic comes through Dino Prizmic test in Melbourne opener | Tennis News

NEW DELHI: Novak Djokovic found himself in a challenging battle against the talented teenager Dino Prizmic and had to show resilience to kick off his Australian Open title defense with a 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 victory in the first round on Sunday.
The Serbian, who participated in his first Australian Open a few months before the Croatian qualifier was born in August 2005, appeared to be in complete command initially on the Rod Laver Arena court, where he has claimed 10 of his 24 Grand Slam titles.
Prizmic had already demonstrated the weapons in his arsenal and managed to break the top seed with a brilliant crosscourt winner early in the second set. This forced Djokovic to elevate his game, responding with a break straight back.

Despite requiring a medical timeout to receive strapping on his thigh early in the match, the 18-year-old, ranked 178th in the world, underwent a remarkable transformation and sustained his performance. He succeeded in leveling the contest in the tiebreak, securing the set with his third set point.
That merely set the tone for an enthralling third set in which 36-year-old Djokovic was put under intense pressure by his athletic opponent, making 20 unforced errors and facing six break points.
Djokovic broke Prizmic at the start but the teenager kept ripping huge forehands and stayed with the world number one in several rallies to put the match back on serve before breaking again for a 3-2 lead after a 15-minute battle of a game.

It had been six years and 28 matches since Djokovic last lost a match at the Australian Open and he was not going to put that record at risk easily.
He regrouped, changed his shirt and won the next four games to take the set, pumping his fist and letting out a huge roar in a tribute to the problems Prizmic had caused him.
More than three hours of playing with one of the best players of all time started to take its toll on Prizmic and Djokovic drove home his advantage to take his 90th win at the Australian Open in just over four hours.
The next challenge to Djokovic’s bid for a record 25th Grand Slam singles title will come from one of two Australians, Alexei Popyrin or Marc Polmans.
(With Reuters Inputs)

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