Novak Djokovic vs. Dino Prizmic Chronicles - Rod Laver Arena Diamond

Novak Djokovic had to work hard against Dino Prizmic at the Australian Open

by Jovica Ilic
Novak Djokovic vs. Dino Prizmic Chronicles - Rod Laver Arena Diamond
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Seven months after lifting the junior Major crown in Paris, an 18-year-old Dino Prizmic qualified for his first senior Major in Melbourne. The Split native passed three qualifying rounds and got a chance to test his skills against Novak Djokovic at Rod Laver Arena during the night session!

The young gun embraced an opportunity with both hands, keeping the defending champion on the court for four hours before falling 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. Prizmic pushed Djokovic to the limits, saving six match points and refusing to surrender until the last ball.

Novak recognized Dino's effort, acknowledging the young opponent after the duel and encouraging the packed Rod Laver Arena to do the same. Djokovic struggled a bit physically, losing energy during grueling rallies but finding a way toward the top.

The Serb served at only 60%, and his first serve could not overpower the rival. Still, the defending champion earned the victory in the second serve area, outplaying Dino and avoiding a potential five-setter. The young gun struggled behind the second serve, dropping 40% of the points in his games.

Prizmic faced 17 break points and experienced eight breaks. He stole Novak's serve four times, trying everything but finishing with one set on his tally. The Croat overshadowed the Serb in the most extended rallies in the opening three sets.

However, Novak turned the tables in the fourth, beating Dino 15-4 and making that segment even. Also, Djokovic claimed 20 points more than Prizmic in the shortest range up to four strokes, winning the duel in that area. As often before, Novak made a flying start at his beloved Rod Laver Arena, ousting the debutant 6-2 in the opening set.

Dino required a medical timeout and could not find his strokes against the world's best player. The Serb dropped three points behind the initial shot and secured two breaks for a comfortable lead ahead of the real battle.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak fired up his strokes right from the start, earning three break chances in the encounter's first game and seizing the last after an extended rally and Dino's backhand error.

The Serb grabbed the second game with an ace down the T line and opened a 3-1 gap with a hold at 15 two games later. Prizmic served well in games three and five before requiring a medical timeout on his left thigh at 2-3. Novak held at love in game six for 4-2 and clinched a break at love in the next one after Dino's loose forehand, moving further in front and serving for the opener.

Djokovic landed an ace down the T line in game eight, rattling off 12 of the final 13 points for 6-2 after 42 minutes. Prizmic introduced his first serve in the second set and stayed in touch, following Djokovic's pace and reaching a tie break.

The young gun produced two fine holds early on, closing the third game with an ace for 2-1. Dino earned his first break chance in the fourth game and cracked a forehand crosscourt winner for a 3-1 advantage.

Novak Djokovic and Dino Prizmic embraced a cracker at Rod Laver Arena.

Novak pulled the break back in the next game, reducing the deficit and interacting with the crowd.

Prizmic grabbed the seventh game with an ace, and Djokovic responded with a hold at love in the next one for 4-4. The servers barely lost a point in the following four games, and Novak forced Dino's mistake for a hold at love in game 12 and a tie break.

Prizmic stepped in after early mini-breaks and earned two mini-breaks at 3-2 to build the advantage. The Serb sprayed a forehand error in the eighth point, offering the Croat four set points. Dino seized the fourth at 6-5 after Novak's wayward forehand, leveling the overall score after an hour and 49 minutes.

The third set presented 73 points in nine games, lasting 70 minutes and heating the drama. Prizmic lost serve in the second game after a double fault and pulled the break back a few minutes later after an extended rally and Djokovic's tired backhand.

The fifth game covered 17 minutes, with two rivals extending punches back and forth. Novak squandered game points and lost serve after a forehand error, feeding the rival's boost. Dino could not cement the lead, spraying a backhand error in the sixth game and bringing world no.

1 back to 3-3. Djokovic embraced another challenging service game, denying two break points with winners in game seven and forcing the rival's mistake for a pivotal hold. Prizmic led 30-0 in the eighth game before losing ground, allowing Djokovic to rattle off four points and deliver a crucial break that pushed him 5-3 in front.

Novak grabbed an extended rally for a set point in game nine and seized it with a forced error, forging two sets to one advantage after three hours! Dino missed a game point at the beginning of the fourth set and lost serve after an entertaining rally and a backhand mistake.

Djokovic held for 2-0 and clinched another break a few minutes later to create a massive advantage and move closer to the finish line.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The defending champion fired a service winner in the fourth game, rattling off 15 of the previous 18 points and moving 4-0 in front.

Dino saved a break point in game five with an ace, avoiding a bagel and reducing the deficit. The young gun pulled one break back in game six after a lucky net cord backhand winner and held at 30 for 3-4, staying in contention.

Djokovic held at love for 5-3 and kept the pressure on the other side, earning four match points on the return in game nine. Prizmic stayed calm and defended them, bringing the game home with a service winner and prolonging the battle.

Novak left that game behind and constructed three match points on serve at 5-3 after a crafty drop shot. Match points five and six came and gone before Djokovic converted the seventh with a forced error, celebrating the win and securing a place in the second round.

Novak Djokovic Australian Open