Djokovic On Track To Win Record 7th Australian Open Title

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Defending champion, Novak Djokovic launched his bid for a record seventh Australian Open title with an impressive 6-1 7-6(4) 6-2 win over hard-hitting Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

The defending champion defended brilliantly at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena to frustrate the man who knocked Rafa Nadal out in the first round last year.

Djokovic was forced to save five match points to beat Verdasco at the recent Qatar Open and was broken twice during a thrilling second set on the Melbourne Park centre court.

But the Serb raised his game as the 33-year-old flagged in the third to set up a second round match against either Ivan Dodig or Denis Istomin.

Djokovic, 29, was hardly stretched as he took the first set inside 31 minutes as Verdasco, who received warm support from the crowd, badly mistimed several shots.

But Verdasco broke straight away in the second set, putting Djokovic under pressure. He eventually forced a tie-break despite a slew of unforced errors.

However, his inconsistency meant he could not capitalise on Djokovic’s errors and the Serb went on to secure his place in the second round.

“It feels like home,” said Djokovic. “It feels like coming to the place where I have an amazing number of incredible memories.

“When I saw the draw I thought to myself, this is going to be the only match I could focus on.”

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