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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic hits 41 winners past Jeremy Chardy on Monday in the Australian Open first round.

Djokovic Fires Warning To Australian Open Title Rivals

World No. 1 to play Tiafoe in second round at Melbourne Park

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic fired a warning to his Australian Open title rivals on Monday night with a dominant performance on Rod Laver Arena.

The eight-time champion experienced no let-downs in his quality of play after he swept past the experienced Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 in just one hour and 31 minutes.

β€œIt felt great,” said Djokovic. "I started the match really well. Broke his serve and [it was] pretty much flawless match, especially on my service games. I was very dominant. I went very quickly through my service games. I think every shot that I executed tonight was really good and on a high level. I'm very pleased with the way I opened up [at] the Australian Open.

β€œI felt really relaxed and comfortable on the court tonight, so I could allow myself to try out some things and come to net. But I thought I was very solid and didn't allow him to have time to try to do something with his forehand.”

Djokovic, who hit 41 winners, will next face American Frances Tiafoe, who knocked out Great Ocean Road Open runner-up Stefano Travaglia 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 51 minutes.

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Djokovic bookended the 32-minute first set with service breaks, then ran through a 22-minute second set, hitting 11 winners from 25 points, with no unforced errors. Chardy ended a seven-game losing streak from 3-4 in the first set with a service hold in the sixth game of the second set.

The 33-year-old, who represented 2020 champion Serbia at the ATP Cup last week, playing each of his nation's Group A ties on Rod Laver Arena, didn’t give Chardy an opportunity to get into the match.

Djokovic broke in the first game of the third set, then clinched another break with a superb, angled backhand winner off a Chardy drop shot. He closed out with his ninth ace, having lost just nine of his first-service points.

Djokovic is bidding to become the second man in history to win at least nine major championship crowns at the same tournament, after Rafael Nadal, who has won 13 Roland Garros titles.

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