Novak Djokovic battles past Frances Tiafoe in 30C Australian Open marathon

Novak Djokovic finds the 30C heat tough going during his second-round defeat of the American Frances Tiafoe. Photograph: Dave Hunt/EPA

Novak Djokovic came through his first major test at the Australian Open in four sets against Frances Tiafoe to reach the third round. The world No 1, seeking an unprecedented ninth Melbourne title, had dropped only six games as he flattened Jeremy Chardy in round one, but the American proved a tougher proposition, taking a second-set tie-break and going toe-to-toe with Djokovic in the third, before the Serb battled through 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (2), 6-3.

Djokovic had two points for a 4-0 lead in the third set but, seemingly struggling with the 30C heat, he allowed Tiafoe to draw level. Tiafoe saved two set points at 4-5, but with the 23-year-old from Maryland now also wilting, Djokovic pulled out a near-perfect tie-break.

Some lung-busting rallies in the fourth set left both players exhausted and it was Tiafoe who lost his way down the finishing straight. A time violation ultimately cost him his serve to trail 4-3 and a double-fault on match point gave Djokovic victory in three-and-a-half hours.

Source: The Guardian