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Novak Djokovic converts five of his nine break points to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday in a repeat of the 2008 Australian Open final.

Djokovic Clinical In Tsonga Win, Now For Shapovalov

Serbian star to play Shapovalov for the first time in third round

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic completed a clinical performance at 12:41 a.m. local time on Friday morning in a repeat of the 2008 final at the Australian Open.

The six-time former champion didn’t always fire on all cylinders against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but took his chances and kept the French wild card under pressure in a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory over two hours and four minutes.

Djokovic admitted there was a lot of tension on court against Tsonga. “Playing on the centre stage against Jo, who I consider [as] one of the greatest rivals that I had throughout my career. We played many thrilling matches, Olympic Games, all over the world, every possible surface… [His] ranking is definitely not showing the right picture of his quality. I'm glad to see him playing. I hope that he can get back where he deserves: at the top of the men's game.”

Djokovic, who hit 33 winners including 12 aces, will next come face-to-face with 19-year-old #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov on Saturday in the third round, which the Serbian has reached for the 12th time.

“He's very pumped," said Djokovic, when asked about Shapovalov. "He brings a lot of energy to the court, which is great to see. I expect a really interesting encounter. He will not have anything really to lose, so I'm sure he's going to come out really pumped.”

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Djokovic made the first move to break for a 3-1 lead, but the fluent stroke-making of Tsonga returned. The Frenchman, who missed seven months of last year due to left knee surgery, evoked memories of his peak-performance days in a competitive second set, which was decided in the 11th game. Djokovic converted his fourth break point chance when Tsonga made a backhand error.

Three straight forehand errors from Tsonga handed Djokovic a 3-2 lead in the third set, which proved to be enough for his 17th win in 23 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings (11-6 on hard courts). Djokovic won the first of his 14 Grand Slam championship trophies with victory over Tsonga in the 2008 final at Melbourne Park.

Twelve months ago, Djokovic lost to Hyeon Chung in the Australian Open fourth round, but returned to peak form in June en route to finishing 2018 at year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

“One of the biggest lessons that I had to learn is patience, trusting life, trusting the process that things will come, that things will get to a point where I want to be, or where I would like to achieve, or how I want to play. I just needed to trust the process, be patient.

“I was impatient, to be honest, especially after surgery [following last year’s championship]. I was rushing way too early to get back into competitive tennis. I was able to play a month or five weeks after surgery, which was quite fast considering.”

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