Djokovic battles past Dodig

2011-01-19 14:06

Melbourne - Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic had to work overtime to reach the third round of the Australian Open with a four-set win over Croatian Ivan Dodig on Wednesday.

The in-form Serb was always expected to be too good for the 81st-ranked Dodig, but was a fraction off his game and struggled to quell his spirited opponent before eventually winning 7-5, 6-7 (8/10), 6-0, 6-2.

There were security concerns around the match, with a past history of clashes between Serb and Croat fans, including in 2009 when chairs were thrown and a spectator was knocked unconscious.

However, there were no concerns on Wednesday, with Serbian fans well outnumbering the handful of Croatian supporters at Melbourne Park's Hisense Arena.

Djokovic had called for calm leading up to the match, but his main concern once play started was finding a way past the determined Dodig, who chased every ball down.

Despite lacking the usual punch in his game, the Serb took the first set by breaking Dodig in the 12th game with a forehand winner, and took a stranglehold when he served for the second set at 5-4.

However, Dodig broke back and then took a tense tiebreak to level the match, leaping high into the air to celebrate.

Djokovic though, was able to steady, and despite racking up 50 unforced errors for the match dominated the last two sets to win in three hours and 21 minutes.

His next match is against countryman and Davis Cup final team-mate, 29th seed Viktor Troicki.