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Australian Open 2020: First-round test bodes well for defending champ Djokovic

By Sacha Pisani At Melbourne Park
Novak Djokovic

Melbourne, January 21: Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic savoured his win over Jan-Lennard Struff, highlighting his grand slam success after difficult first-round matches.

Djokovic - eyeing a record-extending eighth Australian Open title - kicked off his title defence with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1 victory against tenacious German Struff in Melbourne on Monday (January 20).

The 16-time slam champion looked set to close out a straight-sets win after surviving a tense first set, in which he committed 12 unforced errors, before Struff rallied to force a fourth on Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic, though, was not to be denied a 900th ATP career victory and the Serb star told reporters: "I actually like tough first rounds in grand slams particularly.

"Historically I had lots of success in grand slams where I had tough opponents in the first round. Because it gets me going.

"From the beginning I have to be alert, I have to be on a high level. I think I was."

Djokovic, who will face Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito in the second round, added: "Overall it was a really solid start, especially in the second and the fourth set I played on a higher level. (I) served pretty good, lots of aces, high percentage of first serves in.

"I felt kind of in control of the match. Even when I lost the third set I just felt like 'if I am on the right level, I have the upper hand'. I ended this match in a good fashion, in a right way and this is very positive."

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Story first published: Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 6:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 21, 2020
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