A nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is off to a winning start in Melbourne. After skipping it last year, Novak returned to his beloved Major and played well in the opening round at Rod Laver Arena. The Serb ousted Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 under a closed roof for a place in the second round.
Novak has been dealing with a left leg injury since Adelaide, stretching a bit today but keeping everything under control in a straight-sets triumph. Carballes Baena fought well in the opening two sets, dropping serve once in each and fading from the court in the third to push world no.
5 into the second round. Novak fired nine aces, barely lost a point behind the first serve and kept the second under control. The Serb fired 41 winners and 21 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and challenging the rival to repeat that.
Djokovic saved all three break points and turned 47% of the return points in five breaks from nine opportunities.
Novak Djokovic is through into the second round at the Australian Open.
Both players had break chances in the opening set's games four and five, missing them to stay neck and neck.
Novak stepped in on the return in the sixth game and broke Roberto to forge a 4-2 advantage. Djokovic served well in games seven and nine for 6-3 and a boost. The Serb served well in the second set and waited for return chances.
He stole the rival's serve in the seventh game and delivered two holds at love after that to wrap up the set 6-4 and extend his advantage. Carballes Baena had nothing more left in the tank, failing to maintain his level and experiencing a bagel.
Novak turned it into a one-person affair, taking 24 out of 28 points and sailing over the finish line 18 years after playing his first Australian Open match.