Novak Djokovic defeats German rival to take first step towards defending Australian Open title
Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has successfully launched his Australian Open title defense, beating Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 7-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.
The second-seeded Serb faced fierce resistance from his lower-ranked rival in the match opener, where a tie break was needed to determine the winner.
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The more experienced Djokovic took the upper hand in a nail-biting ending to the first set, taking the lead in the first-round match at the season-opening major.
The second set was a walk in the park for the 16-time Grand Slam winner, who got full control of the game and broke his opponent twice to take the second set 6-2.
.@DjokerNole in full flight 🔄#AO2020 | #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/cZ99NsuAS0— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2020
Despite a relatively easy win in the previous set, Djokovic stumbled in the beginning of the third, allowing Struff to make an early break to take a confident 2-0 lead.
The 32-year-old evened the score, before twice allowing Struff to take his serve again and create a surprising four-game lead, enough for the German player to win the third set 6-2.
Not 👏Going 👏 Anywhere 👏@Struffitennis breaks Novak Djokovic twice in a set to claim the third 6-2.#AO2020 | #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HRCigXdBzv— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2020
After that relative on-court failure Djokovic made a stunning comeback, dispatching his 29-year-old opponent in the fourth set 6-1 to earn a place in the second round of the major tournament.
9️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ Tour-level match-wins!@DjokerNole advances to the #AusOpen second round for the 14th consecutive year, def. Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(5) 6-2 2-6 6-1.#AO2020pic.twitter.com/pnqAHZ8YIL— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2020