Novak Djokovic Overcomes Tough Challenge in Australian Open Opener

In a gripping start to his quest for a record-breaking 25th Grand Slam singles title, Novak Djokovic faced a resilient 18-year-old Croatian, Dino Prizmic, in the first round of the Australian Open. Djokovic, 36, ultimately emerged victorious with a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 triumph, showcasing his resilience against the young and physically adept Prizmic.

Acknowledging the intensity of the match, Djokovic commended Prizmic for his exceptional game plan, stating, “Obviously, I struggled in many, many different moments tonight, but it was credit to him due to his incredible gameplan.” The Serbian maestro, known for his dominance in Melbourne, extended his remarkable streak with a 29th consecutive Australian Open match victory, although he dropped a set in the first round for only the second time in the last 17 years.

Prizmic Pushes Djokovic in a Marathon Third Set

Prizmic posed a considerable challenge, breaking Djokovic’s serve in a marathon 17-minute game during the third set. Despite the setback, Djokovic rallied back, winning the next eight games and securing the victory. The four-hour, one-minute encounter marked Novak Djokovic’s longest Grand Slam first-round match ever, a stark contrast to his previous 48 Grand Slam first-round victories, which were typically wrapped up in less than three hours.

Heralding Prizmic’s performance, Djokovic said, “He deserved every applause, every credit that he got tonight. He’s an amazing player, so mature for his age. This is his moment, honestly. It could have easily been his match as well.”

Novak Djokovic’s Potential Path to the Title

Looking ahead,Novak Djokovic is set to face an Australian opponent, with either Alexei Popyrin or Marc Polmans in his sights for the second round. The draw potentially sets up a third-round clash with five-time Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray and a fourth-round meeting with American Ben Shelton, who Djokovic swept in the semifinals at the U.S. Open last September.

In other notable results on Sunday, Taylor Fritz, the highest-seeded American man at No. 12, required five sets and ankle treatment to secure his spot in the second round. Meanwhile, Amanda Anisimova made a triumphant return to Grand Slam competition, defeating No. 13 Liudmila Samsonova in her first Slam match since taking a mental health break last May.

Former Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki advanced in her first match in Melbourne since ending a three-and-a-half-year retirement last summer. Wozniacki, 33, was leading 6-2, 2-0 when No. 20 Magda Linette of Poland retired due to injury.

As the action continues in Melbourne, fans can anticipate thrilling performances from U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff and the return of Naomi Osaka, a four-time major winner playing her first Slam since returning from childbirth.

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