Djokovic lays down marker at Australian Open

first_imgSerbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)Six-time champion Novak Djokovic doused big-hitting Spaniard Fernando Verdasco to win the opening match of his Australian Open title defense in Melbourne on Tuesday.The indomitable Serb second seed avoided a potential first round exit against Verdasco, who knocked out Rafael Nadal in last year’s first round.ADVERTISEMENT Palace: Crisis over ABS-CBN franchise unlikely View comments Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town Djokovic prevailed 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in 2hr 20min on Rod Laver Arena to progress to a second round encounter with either Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin or Croatia’s Ivan Dodig.“The second set went over an hour so of course when I saw the draw, I thought ‘this is going to be the only match I focus on,’” Djokovic said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC return“I could finish early in the tournament. But I managed to start well with great intensity.“First and third sets went well, the second was a gamble. If he’s on you never know.” Luis Manzano jokes about Mikee Morada’s proposal to Alex Gonzaga: ‘Baka nagtali lang ng sintas’ Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Djokovic got off to a flyer with a double service break to clean up the opening set for the loss of just one game in 31 minutes.Both players traded service breaks in four games before the second set went to a tiebreaker. Djokovic’s greater consistency and Verdasco’s erratic groundstrokes gave the Serb the tiebreaker and a 2-0 sets lead.Djokovic cranked it up in the third set, breaking Verdasco’s opening service which he carried through to win on his first match point.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Bulacan inmates, jail guards raise donations for Taal victims DILG to lock shops in Tagaytay City, other areas near Taal LATEST STORIES Ben&Ben, IV of Spades, SB19 win big at 5th Wish Music Awards Motorcycle taxis ‘illegal’ starting next week — LTFRB board member Bullpups beat Junior Archers, but Napa unhappy with sloppy play Anne Curtis talks about renewing faith in God amid the world’s ‘noise and clutter’ MOST READ Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. It was a tricky first-up match for the 12-time Grand Slam champion, who had lost to the Spaniard in four of their previous 13 meetings.But Djokovic’s greater consistency in the pressure moments of an intense match won him the day.Verdasco has not beaten the Serb for almost seven years, with his last triumph in the quarter-finals at Rome in 2010, although he held five match points in the pair’s most recent meeting this month in Doha before Djokovic went on to win the tournament.Djokovic is seeded to face Brisbane International winner Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, powerful Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem in the quarters and Canada’s big-serving third seed Milos Raonic in the semi-finals in the bottom half of the men’s draw.He can take outright ownership of the record for Australian titles if he wins for a seventh time. The Serb is currently tied with Australia’s Roy Emerson on six.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img

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