Djokovic overcomes ‘brutal’ heat and Monfils
Novak Djokovic had to come from a set down to beat Gael Monfils in hot and humid conditions at the Australian Open.
With temperatures reaching 39.9 degrees Celsius, both players struggled with the conditions and it was Djokovic who eventually ran out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 winner.
The six-time champion, though, didn’t get off to the best of starts as he lost his first two service games, but he won the next three to pull level at 3-3.
However, Monfils hit back for another break and eventually won the set 6-4.
Djokovic levelled things courtesy a break in the eighth game of the second set while his French opponent fell away quite badly in the third as he won just one of his four service games.
The fourth set was another straightforward affair for Djokovic as he broke in the eighth game again to secure the win in two hours and 47 minutes.
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Monfils needed treatment in the second set after complaining that he felt dizzy and Djokovic admitted conditions were tough out.
“We both suffered on the court today. Really tough conditions, brutal – especially for the first hour and a half. I was coming into the match knowing it was going to be a big challenge for both of us,” he said.
“Gael is one of the best athletes in our sport, maybe the best athlete, he gets a lot of balls back and has a big serve. I was just hanging in there trying to make the most of opportunities.
“Obviously he wasn’t at his best at the end of the second set and into the third. The fourth could have gone either away but it’s great to be back at the Rod Laver Arena.
“The elbow is not at 100 per cent but it’s building. I had a lot of faith and self-belief and I know what I’m capable of. It’s always amazing playing on this court. This has been the single most successful court I’ve ever played on in my entire career.”
Djokovic will take on 21st seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas from Spain in the third round.
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