Novak Djokovic required three-and-a-half hours to book a place in the third round of the Australian Open after battling to a four-set win over Frances Tiafoe.
It was a tough day at the office for the world No.1 who suffered a scare enduring his second round encounter at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic was pushed to his limits throughout his 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 6-3, win in what was only his second competitive match of the season.
Tiafoe’s inspired play was reminiscent of his run to the quarter-finals of the tournament back in 2019 but still it wasn’t enough to prevent Djokovic from grabbing the victory.
“It was a very tough match, very warm and a lot of long rallies,” Djokovic said on court. “I want to say that Frances put up a really good fight. The matches are only going to get tougher. I was fortunate to get through the third set today. It was anyone’s game and Frances served great.”
The World No. 1, who is pursuing a record-extending ninth title at this event, had not played Tiafoe before walking onto the court inside Rod Laver Arena for their second-round clash. But Djokovic got all he could handle and then some. However, he showed his champion’s mettle as he pushes for an 18th major trophy.
“When you win a lot on Rod Laver Arena, you feel comfortable,” Djokovic said. “It feels like my living room, although I’m not sitting on my couch – I’m running all over the place. This is the quickest court conditions in the 15 years that I’ve played here.”