Djokovic Channels Ivanisevic In Serving Clinic
After a grueling four-set win on Monday, Novak Djokovic will welcome the quick day he earned on Wednesday at the Australian Open. The second seed overwhelmed Japanese wild card Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the third round in Melbourne.
Although Djokovic will be satisfied with hitting 31 winners to 17 unforced errors, he’ll be even more pleased with serving stats that one of his coaches, former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, would be proud of. The defending champion cracked 16 aces, lost just 11 points on serve (53/64) and won 93 per cent of his first-serve points (43/46).
”He was playing pretty aggressive and flat, with not too many unforced errors in the second set. I just managed to somehow find my way,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “From my side, my serve helped me a lot to get out of trouble.
”I knew shots would come quick and flat, so I had to be quite low [and] put some variety on the shots, spins, slices, and come to the net on occasion. It worked well.”
”I’m playing all the Japanese players in the field,” Djokovic said with a smile. “He’s very quick, probably one of the quickest players we have on the Tour. You know what his strengths are [and] what his weaknesses are, so hopefully I can execute the game plan.”
Ito, No. 146 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, picked up his first Grand Slam victory in six years to earn the right to face Djokovic. But the 31-year-old quickly found himself on defence in Rod Laver Arena. Ito lacked the strength in his shots to overpower the second seed and was resigned to trying to outrally the seven-time champion.
Djokovic dominated the early stages of the match, racing to a 5-0 lead in less than 20 minutes. The Serbian didn’t give Ito a chance to get involved in his service games, dropping just two points on serve to cruise through the opening set.
Ito was able to impose himself more in the second set, but continued to feel the pressure. While the Japanese was routinely forced to save break points, two of Djokovic’s service games took less than 90 seconds. The second seed let out a roar after a strong forehand gave him a break at 4-4 and he comfortably held in the next game for a commanding advantage.
Djokovic moved into full flight in the third set, leaving Ito visibly bemused with the flashy winners racing past him. The Serbian easily closed out the match on his first try after one hour and 35 minutes.
Diego Schwartzman advanced to the third round after one hour and 56 minutes, breaking serve on seven occasions to beat 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. The 14th seed will meet Dusan Lajovic in the third round. Lajovic beat Australian wild card Marc Polmans 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to record his sixth win in eight matches this year.