Defending champion Novak Djokovic overcame Slovakian Lukas Lacko to advance into the second round of the Australian Open.
The Serbian won through in straight sets 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-1, but was made to work hard by his opponent, ranked 96 in the world. Having faced break points in his opening service game, Djokovic had to produce some top quality tennis to continue in his quest to become only the second man to win five Australian Open titles (Roy Emerson being the only player to achieve this so far).
This is Djokovic’s first game since appointing German legend Boris Becker as his coach, and at times in the second set looked towards his coach for advice as Lacko produced his best tennis to take the set to a tie-break. Djokovic’s quality shone through, however, and once he had taken the second set and broken serve early in the third the match was all but over.
Having won his 22nd consecutive match in Melbourne (and 25th in a row in all competitions), Djokovic will now face Argentinian Leonardo Mayer in the second round.
One person who won’t be seeing the second round is Venus Williams, who lost 2-6 6-4 6-4 to 22nd seed Ekaterina Makarova, having been 3-0 up in the deciding set, but committing 21 unforced errors.