Australian Open

Novak Djokovic Will Cruise Past Leonardo Mayer at 2014 Australian Open

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 13:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a backhand in his first round match against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia during day one of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 13, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2014

Novak Djokovic's remarkable 22-match winning streak at the Australian Open will be safe on Day 3.

The three-time defending tournament champion—and odds-on favorite in the men's draw—will take on world No. 98 Leonardo Mayer in the second round at Melbourne Park. And while Djokovic has never faced off against the 26-year-old Argentine before, he's poised to cruise past the massive underdog in three relatively easy sets. 

Naturally, Djokovic was rusty in his first-round triumph on Day 1. Still, he managed to defeat Lukas Lacko convincingly, blasting 10 aces and recording 40 winners in a straight-sets clinic. And given the world No. 2's favorable draw, it's unlikely he'll be tested until the second week.

After all, it's been four years since Djokovic last lost a singles match in Melbourne.

Now, with tennis legend Boris Becker on his side, the four-time Aussie Open champion is taking to the court with an unrivaled level of confidence. That belief was on display throughout his opening-round victory and is sure to take center stage again in his second-round clash with Mayer.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 13:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand in his first round match against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia during day one of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 13, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Cli
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In addition to dominating on return, Djokovic has become a dangerous player at the net, converting on 8 of 9 net points in his win over Lacko and looking more confident and comfortable than ever moving forward.

And with the rust shaken off of his lethal two-handed backhand, good luck finding a weakness in Djokovic's hard-court game.

Sure, his serve isn't going to blow anyone away, but it's much improved and allows him to dictate the point. Not to mention that it opens the door for cheap points when he's able to serve with pace and charge the net for an easy winner.

Although Mayer was exceptional in his first-round win over Albert Montanes, he was untested by the 33-year-old Spaniard in a match that lasted just over an hour. In Round 2, watch for Djokovic's focus, athleticism and shot-making ability to overwhelm Mayer from the outset. 

Plus, the blistering heat gives Djokovic even more of an edge in the best-of-five-set showdown.

There are few athletes on the planet, let alone tennis players, as fit as Djokovic. And with conditions far from ideal at Melbourne Park, a Mayer upset seems inconceivable.

Assuming Djokovic can stay healthy and hydrated, Mayer will have no answer for his incredible form Down Under and is poised to become another victim of the defending champion's incredible run at the season's first Slam.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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