The young Croat Dino Prizmic will debut at the ATP 500 level in Rotterdam next week, with the organizers presenting him with a main-draw wild card. An 18-year-old played only three ATP tournaments prior to 2024, adding the fourth on the notable scene and making a name for himself!
Dino passed three qualifying rounds in Melbourne to earn a place in the Australian Open main draw, debuting at Majors at such a young age. By the will of tennis gods, Prizmic stepped on Rod Laver Arena for his first match at the highest level, with a 24-time Major winner Novak Djokovic standing on the other side!
Eager to show his rich talent despite an early setback, Dino pushed Novak to the limits for four hours in a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 defeat, leaving everything on the court and earning praises and applause from the greatest player in history!
Struggling with a minor virus, Djokovic did not play at his best. He broke the youngster's resistance early in the fourth set and emerged at the top on his seventh match point. Novak played against nine break points and got broken four times.
The veteran stole 40% of the return points and turned them into eight breaks from 17 chances, sealing the deal before losing even more energy against an inspired opponent.
Dino Prizmic secured the Rotterdam main-draw wild card.
Dino overpowered Novak in the most extended rallies in the opening three sets before the defending champion fixed that in the fourth, leaving a teenager 15-4 behind.
Novak claimed 20 points more than Dino in the shortest exchanges, making the difference in that area. Prizmic required a medical timeout in the first set and could not follow Djokovic's pace, with the Serb taking it 6-2 in 42 minutes.
The young gun showed his skills in the second set, battling with the world's best player for over an hour and showing his clutch. Dino broke in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead before Novak pulled it back in the next one, returning to the positive side.
They served well in the remaining games and introduced a tie break.
Prizmic played valiant tennis and forged a 5-2 lead. The youngster wrapped up the breaker 7-5 after an extended rally and the veteran's forehand error, leveling the overall score at 1-1.
The third set provided another grueling battle, with two rivals spreading nine games over 70 minutes! Each player scored an early break, including a 17-minute fifth game when Prizmic converted the third break point. Djokovic pulled the break back in the next one and erased two break points at 3-3 with winners.
Novak grabbed four straight points on the return in the next one, securing a break and moving 5-3 in front. Djokovic served for the set in game nine and held at 30, opening two sets to one advantage and gathering a massive boost.
Dino slowed down a bit and suffered two breaks early in the fourth set, finding himself 4-0 behind. Eager to fight, a teenager saved a break point in the fifth game and pulled one break back in the next one. Prizmic faced the ultimate test in the ninth game, offering Djokovic four match points and denying them with brave hitting.
Novak served for the victory at 5-4 and squandered two more match points. The defending champion finally seized the seventh opportunity, making a winning start and applauding his young opponent.