Novak Djokovic Beats Mitchell Krueger to Advance to Australian Open Second Round | Bleacher Report

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 15:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point in his first round match against Mitchell Krueger of the United States during day two of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic claimed a straight-sets victory over qualifier Mitchell Krueger at the 2019 Australian Open on Tuesday despite a spirited performance from his American opponent.

The Serb won 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours and three minutes at the Rod Laver Arena as he began his pursuit of a seventh title in Melbourne.

First blood was unexpectedly drawn by Krueger, ranked 230th in the world, when some loose forehand play from Djokovic gifted him an early break.

The setback seemed to spark Djokovic to life, though, and he broke to 15 immediately after to level the scores at 2-2 before following that up with a hold to love, producing a superb volley at the net and a cute drop shot along the way .

An error-strewn game from Krueger saw him broken again, allowing Djokovic to serve out the set at 5-3.

He did so, but not before the American saved a set point after coming out on top in a superb rally:

Metro‘s George Bellshaw summarised proceedings to that point:

Djokovic kicked off the second set much better than he had the first, breaking Krueger in the opening game, though not before the 25-year-old had saved three break points.

Although outmatched by his illustrious opponent, Krueger continued to offer some resistance where he could:

He was broken a second time soon after, having made a double-fault at the crucial moment, and the second set quickly went the same way as the first.

Djokovic may have been hoping for a quick end to the match, but he found himself frustrated early in the third set when Krueger recorded a hold after saving five break points in a 15-minute game.

The world No. 1 was struggling to convert his break points, as tennis writer Carole Bouchard noted:

He eventually got the break in Krueger’s next service game after another battle at deuce:

Djokovic broke again soon after as he rattled through the final games to secure the win.

In the second round, the 14-time Grand Slam winner will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who he beat in 2008’s Australian Open final to secure his first major title.

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