Novak Djokovic opened his 2014 Australian Open account with a simple win over Lukas Lacko at Melbourne Park on Monday.
The four-time winner—who has captured the last three Australian Open Grand Slams heading into this year's competition—overcame a spirited opponent in a first-round match that saw him play under the gaze of coach Boris Becker.
GAME, SET AND MATCH! Djokovic through to the second round of the Australian Open with 6-3 7-6 6-1 win over Lacko. http://t.co/5Ecnf0KtYg— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) January 13, 2014
Despite a challenging second set, Djokovic slotted home 10 aces, 40 winners and zero double faults on his way to victory, per the Australian Open's official website.
Although the Serbian star clocked up 30 unforced errors, his opponent also struggled with the surface speed and ended the match with 29 errors of his own.
Overall, the quality was high, and the pair thrilled the evening crowd, as displayed by this particular point:
Djokovic took to Twitter following the match to thank fans for their continued support:
Good to start of with a Win in Aus Open 2014. Dobro je zapoceti pobedom ovogodisnji Aus Open.. Idemo dalje. Thanks for the support guys— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 13, 2014
Lacko shouldn't be disappointed with his effort against the world No. 2 and can certainly take some positives out of the opening-round encounter. The 26-year-old Slovak looked to play on the front foot as much as possible, hit 17 winners, but couldn't take advantage of a second-set tiebreaker to level proceedings.
Djokovic appeared to be keeping plenty in the tank for later rounds, but when the score appeared troubling at 6-6 in the second, he eased his way beyond his opponent's best efforts by staying strong on serve in the tiebreaker.
For all Lacko's effort, the third set whizzed by in just 23 minutes, with Djokovic hitting four aces and 16 winners.
Djokovic's play improved as the match progressed, highlighted by a superb backhand on his way to 5-1 in the final set. An excellent drop shot threw up two match points in the next game, which Djokovic powerfully ended with an ace.
As tweeted by ESPN, Becker could hardly ask for more in his first Grand Slam bout as Djokovic's coach:
Happy Boris? Novak Djokovic cruises into the second round of the Australian Open in straight sets against Lukas Lacko pic.twitter.com/XnAViLIDCt— ESPN.co.uk (@ESPNUK) January 13, 2014
The German's 26-year-old student will now face Leonardo Mayer in the next round after the Argentinian overcame Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in his first-round fixture.