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Djokovic Makes It 22 In A Row In Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic is chasing his fourth Australian Open title in a row.

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic extended his Australian Open winning streak to 22 matches with a 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-1 first-round victory over Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko on Rod Laver Arena on Monday night, setting up a second-round clash against Argentinian Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. 

Playing his first match of 2014, the three-time defending champion made a confident start as he raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set. But uncharacteristic errors saw Djokovic trade breaks with the 96th-ranked Slovak before serving out the set 6-3. 

Lacko refused to allow the favoured Serbian to dictate in the second, stepping up on the baseline to force the set to a tie-break. After tentative shots found the net, the experienced Djokovic tightened his game, pouncing on a lofting Lacko drop shot to take the tiebreak 7-2 on his first opportunity. 

With the rust disappearing from the Djokovic racquet, the Serbian’s all-court game was in full flight in the third set. He surged into a 3-0 lead before serving out the match with an ace. 

"I was happy with my concentration," said Djokovic. "I thought I was prepared well. Physically I feel great. I'm very motivated obviously to play my best. I know that I haven't played my best, especially in the second set. But, look, also credit to my opponent who was playing really nice tennis from the baseline. 

"I won many easy points with the first serves and had a high percentage of the first serves in. That's something that makes me very encouraged for this tournament and for every next match."

Djokovic’s second round against Mayer will be the first meeting between the pair. Mayer, No. 98 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, had a straight-sets win over Spain’s Albert Montanes today. 

After trailing two sets to love, Poland’s 20th seed Jerzy Janowicz fought through three hours and 16 minutes on Hisense Arena to overcome Australian 19-year-old wild card Jordan Thompson 1-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, advancing to a second-round encounter with Spaniard Pablo Andujar.

In his Grand Slam main draw debut, Thompson stunned the 2013 Wimbledon semi-finalist, hitting just seven unforced errors compared to the Pole’s 29 in the opening two sets. But Janowicz found his feet in the third set to overwhelm the teen, securing his first win of 2014. 

"I didn't play my best tennis; I was far from it," Janowicz told ATPWorldTour.com. "I knew I had to fight for every single ball. He's a young player in his first Grand Slam tournament, so I knew he might feel a little bit of pressure. He had the chance to win the match. Maybe he was a little bit nervous.

"Luckily, after every single game, I was getting better. I was more confident with my groundstrokes. In the fourth and fifth sets I was playing pretty okay."

Canadian 28th seed Vasek Pospisil set up an Australian double, recording a straight-sets win over big-serving Australian Samuel Groth to advance to a second-round match-up against countryman Matthew Ebden

Groth fired 16 aces in the match, but Pospisil dominated from the ground and took his chances to secure the 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 43 minutes on Show Court 2. Ebden will back up after a five-set victory over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut

Veteran 17th seed Tommy Robredo fought from the brink of defeat in the fourth set to clinch a marathon five-set victory over Czech Lucas Rosol, 6-1, 6-7(7), 3-6, 7-6(5), 8-6. The Spaniard will face Julien Benneteau in round two, after the Frenchman also advanced in five sets today. 

In another turbulent five-set match, Russian 32-year-old Nikolay Davydenko overcame Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and 39 minutes to advance to a second-round clash with ninth seed Richard Gasquet

Denis Istomin rounded out the day’s action as he defeated 2006 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 36 minutes.

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