Novak Djokovic, defending champion of the Australian Open, survived Wednesday a critical fright from the harmful American Frances Tiafoe, who pushed him into 4 gorgeous sevens earlier than the world No. 1 prevailed.
The Serbian first-rounder took management after taking the primary set, however Tiafoe, who reached the quarter-finals two years in the past, refused to go quietly.
He was rewarded for taking an in depth second run earlier than Djokovic dug deep to emerge a 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 winner and proceed his relentless march. in the direction of a ninth Australian Open Title.
“It was very arduous. When the solar was on the court docket it was very popular. Loads of lengthy demonstrations,” Djokovic stated. “A stupendous battle for Frances, an excellent sport for her.
– Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) February 10, 2021:
“But it surely’s not the primary time I have been in this sort of state of affairs, I understand how to deal with this sort of circumstance.”
Then he’ll play one other American, both Taylor Fritz or Reilly Opelka.
Djokovic, who missed simply six video games in his opening match, had by no means performed for Tiafoe, however tailored shortly.
On a scorching day, with ice towels used for the primary time within the match, he instantly parted methods with the race in a 3-0 lead, however some unusually poor service allowed the American energetic to return to the set.
It was a stumbling block that shocked Djokovic who broke down shortly, pumping his fist into the air as he screamed at his field.
No participant gave up an inch within the shut second set, with Tiafoe’s energy combine and strange photographs seemingly placing Djokovic out of his sport as he got here out on prime in a tiebreak.
The Serb picked up a degree within the third set, however Tiafoe made his alternate of blows till too many pressured errors ensured Djokovic took the set.
They went from power to power within the fourth till a wonderful reverse gave Djokovic the essential break for the 4-3, with a annoyed Tiafoe slammed with a warning to swear after double fault for giving the primary place the sport.
Djokovic, profitable an 18th Slam crown to shut out the twentieth held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, has gained a report eight instances in Melbourne.
It was the scene of his Grand Slam victory in 2008 and he has been unbeaten within the well-known blue courts since his defeat to South Korea’s Hyeon Chung within the 2018 spherical of 16.