Australian Open: Defending champion Novak Djokovic sees off Lukas Lacko
Novak Djokovic made a winning start to his Australian Open defence after a straight-forward victory over Lukas Lacko.
Last Updated: 13/01/14 11:39am
Djokovic, who beat Andy Murray in the 2013 final at Melbourne Park, was simply too strong for Lacko as he powered to a 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 win.
With new coach Boris Becker watching on at Rod Laver Arena, there were no alarms for the Serbian, who is bidding to become the second man after Roy Emerson to win four straight titles here.
Djokovic was certainly not at his sharpest, though, on a stage he has made his own. Having broken 96th-ranked Lacko to lead 4-1, Djokovic's normally ultra-solid backhand broke down and he handed the advantage back.
However, Lacko could not hold his own serve and it was Djokovic who took the opening set.
The second was a real tussle lasting 57 minutes, and the Rod Laver Arena crowd really appreciated the efforts of Lacko in keeping his illustrious opponent at bay.
There were still too many errors from the second seed - 30 in all - but he stepped it up during the tie-break and then raced through the deciding set.
It was a 22nd straight win in Melbourne for Djokovic, who meets Argentina's Leonardo Mayer in the second round.
Jerzy Janowicz was given a real fright before overcoming Jordan Thompson in five sets.
Thompson, the 19-year-old home hope, had won the first two sets but the 20th seed came storming back to win 1-6 4-6 6-4 6-2 6-1.
No 30 seed Dmitry Tursunov is also through to the second round after he cruised past Michael Russell 6-2 6-2 6-3.