Australian Open: Novak Djokovic struggles but beats Dino Prizmic

Novak Djokovic needed almost four hours to beat Dino Prizmic

by Jovica Ilic
Australian Open: Novak Djokovic struggles but beats Dino Prizmic
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic made a winning start at Rod Laver Arena. A ten-time winner ousted an 18-year-old Croat Dino Prizmic 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 after four hours, struggling but emerging at the top.

Novak worked hard to secure his 362nd Major victory, with Dino challenging him from the second set and showing his rich talent. Djokovic lost the energy during numerous grueling rallies but did enough to seal the deal and avoid an even more extended marathon.

The Serb played better behind the second serve, delivering eight breaks and getting broken four times. Novak dominated the opening set, losing three points behind the initial shot and delivering two breaks for a reliable start.

Djokovic seized the third break chance in the encounter's first game, settling into a fine rhythm behind the initial shot. Prizmic produced two fine holds, standing 3-2 behind before Djokovic grabbed the sixth game at love for a 4-2 advantage.

Dino sprayed a forehand error in the seventh game, losing serve at love and pushing Novak further in front. The Serb held at 15 in game eight, landing an ace down the T line for 6-2 in 42 minutes. The second set saw a massive battle, with the Croat following the Serb's pace.

They traded breaks and served well in the remaining ten games to introduce a tie break. Dino held with easy two times at the start of the set and broke Novak's serve in game four following a cracking forehand crosscourt winner.

Djokovic broke back in the next game, returning to the positive side and getting the crowd involved. Both players served well in the remaining seven games, arranging a tie break. Prizmic took charge in the most extended rallies and forged a 5-2 advantage after Djokovic's backhand error.

Novak Djokovic took down Dino Prizmic in four sets at Rod Laver Arena.

The young gun created four set points, and the defending champion saved three, climbing back to 5-6. Dino seized an extended rally in the 12th point, welcoming Novak's forehand error and leveling the overall score after an hour and 49 minutes.

The rivals lost the ground a bit on serve in the third set, with five breaks in nine games. Djokovic grabbed the first for 2-0, and Prizmic pulled it back in game three, with world no. 1 struggling physically. Novak experienced a massive blow in the fifth game, squandering game points and allowing Dino to secure another break and move 3-2 in front after the Serb's forehand error.

Djokovic stayed focused and pulled the break back in game six, fighting hard and locking the result at 3-3. World no. 1 defended two break points in the seventh game, avoiding another upset and gaining a boost.

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

Prizmic led 30-0 in the eighth game before dropping four straight points, losing serve and propelling Djokovic 5-3 in front.

Novak held at 30 in game nine, wrapping up the set and moving two sets to one in front after three hours of a grueling battle. With a boost on his side, Djokovic delivered two breaks at the start of the fourth set and forged a 4-0 advantage, looking good to seal the deal.

Dino denied a break point in game five, reducing the deficit and pulling one break back at 1-4 after a lucky net cord backhand winner. Novak grabbed the eighth game at love, moving 5-3 in front and forcing his rival to serve to stay in the match.

The Serb earned four match points on the return in game nine, and the Croat defended them to prolong the battle. Dino brought the game home, surviving a massive test and staying alive. Djokovic left those chances behind and held at 30 at 5-4 to seal the deal and move into the second round.

Australian Open Novak Djokovic