‘It was a very tough match’ – Novak Djokovic happy to come through strong Frances Tiafoe challenge

Novak Djokovic came through a really strong Frances Tiafoe challenge to book his place in the Australian Open third round on Wednesday. 

The world number one came out onto Rod Laver Arena in blistering conditions in Melbourne, and he was put to the test by the American.

Tiafoe was able to take Djokovic to two tiebreaks and win the second set as he battled hard for almost four hours, but it was the Serbian who got himself over the line to claim a 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6(7-2), 6-3 win.

“It feels like my living room, to be honest.” Novak Djokovic said afterwards of Rod Laver Arena. “I feel comfortable playing here.

“I think the surface has changed over the years – this is probably the quickest speed I have played on at Rod Laver Arena, so you need a big serve, and if you don’t have a big serve you have to grind and win the battle.”

Djokovic and Tiafoe combined for a total of 49 aces during the match, and the world number one was keen to credit his opponent for a superb performance.

“[It was] a very tough match. Difficult conditions. While we had sun on the court it was very warm. A lot of long rallies.

“I want to give a hand to Frances again for a great fight. It was a fantastic match on his part.”

“The matches will only get tougher,” he says. “It’s not the first time I’m in this kind of situation.

“I know how to handle these kind of circumstances, but at the same time I was fortunate to get through the third set today.

“It is probably the most aces I have served to someone and someone has served to me in a long time.”

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