2019-01-19 by W.M.
Novak Djokovic Beats Denis Shapovalov to Advance at 2019 Australian Open | Bleacher Report
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It was a largely serene performance from the world No. 1, but there was a minor blip when he lost five games in a row to surrender the third set.
His response was brutal as he then won the fourth set to love to wrap up the match in two hours, 22 minutes.
Djokovic will face No. 15 seed Daniil Medvedev in the last 16.
The opening two sets were predictably clinical from Djokovic.
Canadian Shapovalov is a hugely exciting prospect with plenty of talent, but he didn’t cause the top seed any real problems in the opening exchanges.
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The Serbian broke for a 2-1 lead in the third game of the match, and then again for 4-1.
Shapovalov was able to get one of the breaks back, but he then buckled again as he was serving to stay in the set, double-faulting at a crucial moment and Djokovic went into a 1-0 lead.
After a loose first set with the ball in hand the teenager upped his serving in the second to at least try to put the pressure on Djokovic.
He started to hold his serve much more confidently, and he and Djokovic exchanged the first nine games of the second set with relative ease.
The problem with playing against someone of Djokovic’s calibre, though, is he can up his game exactly when it matters.
And at 5-4 ahead, with Shapovalov serving to stay in the set, the 14-time Grand Slam winner did just that, earning his first and only break point of the set and taking it to move one set from victory:
Standard Sport @standardsport
Djokovic is nearly there.
The Serb edges a tight second set 6-4 against a resurgent Shapovalov and moves a step closer to the last 16.
#AusOpen live 👉 https://t.co/xXaIe9HbIO https://t.co/qO5l7290zW
Even the best players can lose concentration, though.
At 4-1 ahead in the third Djokovic looked to be heading for the most routine of victories, but then he started missing shots and making mistakes, never more noticeably than when he double faulted to hand Shapovalov a 5-4 lead and the chance to serve for the set:
George Bellshaw @BellshawGeorge
Double fault from Djokovic to hand Shapovalov the chance to serve for the third set.
Was handed a time violation at 0-40 down and was not happy. Gives a sarcastic thumbs up to umpire Damien Dumusois as he walks to his chair.
The six-time Australian Open champion arguably had only himself to blame as he got noticeably annoyed by the lights coming on at the Rod Laver Arena:
Carole Bouchard @carole_bouchard
Novak absolutely mad at having those lights in his face. It’s a bright day so he has a point. Match resuming.
Given it was still bright daylight it did seem a strange move, but Djokovic allowed his game to be affected.
Having made a combined 12 unforced errors in the first and second sets, he made 14 in the third.
To his credit Shapovalov took full advantage of the situation to win five games in a row, and for the first time hint at a potential upset.
It was not to be, though. Djokovic came out for the fourth set revitalised and immediately broke Shapovalov for 2-0 thanks to a remarkable pick-up at the net and some trademark defensive work from the back of the court.
It was like the third set had never happened as he blew Shapovalov away, winning six games in a row to move through to the fourth round.