Novak Djokovic survived a grueling encounter against Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday to secure a place in the third round at Melbourne Park

The top seed and two-time defending champion was named No. 1 pushed hard64 which takes three and a half hours to score a 6-3 6-7 (3) 7-6 (2) 6-3 win

“(A) very tough game Even difficult conditions While we had sun on the pitch, it was very, very warm. Many long rallies,” said Djokovic, who is playing for a ninth AO title with a record extension

“I want to help Frances for a great fight It was a fantastic game”

On the first meeting between the two, Djokovic started off sharp, held on to love and then broke love to win the first eight points in a row, setting the tone for the set

There were some flashes of brilliance from the American – a scorching pass shot winner here, an athletic backhand volley there – but Djokovic was too stable and put a backhand winner on the line to bag the opener

But from the second set on, the nature of the game changed and the contrasts between the two competitors became even stronger

On one end, you had the more flashy but unpredictable Tiafoe, who played with increasingly positive, energetic body language as he made his way into the competition.On the other hand, Djokovic was efficient and methodical, but increasingly listless in hot weather

When the set became a tiebreaker, Tiafoe came to the opportunity After scoring a 4-3 mini-break, he forced a 5-3 volley error, played a drop-shot winner to hit a number of setpoints, and converted the first with a strong backhand return that Djokovic couldn’t control

Djokovic reacted strongly as usual and won 14 of the first 18 points to take a quick 3-0 lead in the third. But the dynamics returned to that of the second set, with Djokovic mistaking and the American back in the Competition allowed

Tiafoe has in 10 Game saved two set points, but when the set resulted in a tie he stalled and opened it with a mistake and a double fault.After Djokovic took the aces 4-1 in a row, Tiafoe scored a backhand to the Serb to give multiple setpoints

Despite the courts playing faster than ever, according to Djokovic, this match felt like a grind. While both men served impeccably – with 49 aces – it wasn’t a particularly clean performance either

Just a few games after the fourth set, the game was already past the three-hour mark

But when that sentence almost certainly led to a draw, Djokovic took a break in the seventh game

It was as if a switch had suddenly thrown The World No.I relaxed, swung more freely on its ground beats, and began unwinding the winners

He won 11 of the last 13 points – Tiafoe finished the game with a double fault – and reached the third round for the third time in his last 15 tournament visits

“It’s not the first time I’ve been in a situation like this. I know how to deal with circumstances like this. I was lucky enough to get through the third set today – it really was everyone’s game”

He’ll next play either No27 seed Taylor Fritz or Reilly Opelka for a spot in the last 16

Tennis Australia recognizes that the AO takes place in Aboriginal land and we thank the traditional owners, their ancestors and elders past, present and genesis, and all of the First Nations people

Djokovic, Tiafoe, France Tiafoe

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