Melbourne, Australia, Feb 10 (efe-epa).- No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic had to suffer to defeat American Frances Tiafoe under the Wednesday heat at the Australian Open, as Austria’s Dominic Thiem offered a tennis masterclass to beat Germany’s Dominik Koepfer.
The Serbian beat Tiafoe 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7 -6 (2), 6-3 to reach the third round of the year’s first grand slam.
“It was a very difficult game and the conditions were tough, very hot when the sun was high,” Djokovic said at the conclusion of a clash that lasted more than three and a half hours.
The Serbian first gave up a set at Melbourne Park during his second test, a match in which he was unusually erratic after committing 37 unforced errors.
He lost two of three break points conceded to an electric Tiafoe, who stayed afloat throughout the entire match backed by the immeasurable support of a large part of the fans.
Despite the adversity, the Serbian emerged from a demanding fight and will continue on his way to what could be his third consecutive grand slam and ninth title at Melbourne Park.
Next up for the 17-time Grand Slam champion will be US’ Taylor Fritz, who battled past his countryman Reilly Opelka in a four-hour, five-set match.
Meanwhile, No. 3 seed Thiem outclassed Koepfer 6-4, 6-0 and 6-2 to face Nick Kyrgios in the next round.
The Austrian gave his rival no choice and offered a recital in a match in which he produced seven aces, 34 winners and 21 unforced errors, without dropping a service game. The intense heat, which exceeded 30C, did not faze a player with one of the best physical conditions on the circuit.
Thiem, the reigning United States Open champion, said in his first press conference in Melbourne Park that he analyzed his 2020 loss to Novak Djokovic and learned his lesson for this edition.