Nole is through to the third round of the Australian Open after a stern test from the qualifier.
Fourth seed Novak Djokovic continued quest for 10th title in Melbourne, following a 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0 win over Enzo Couacaud in Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.
The Serbian star booked himself a spot in the third round after three hours and four minutes of play.
Novak was cruising through the opening set. He broke in the fourth and sixth games to storm to a one-set lead, closing it out with a forehand winner and a big serve.
Both players looked strong on serve in the second set. The nine-time champion received medical treatment at 4-5, as his movement was hampered by hamstring injury. The French qualifier played the set of his life to prevail in a tie-break and squared things up in the entertaining contest.
From there on, Nole showed his greatness and dominated the rest of the match. He played outstanding tennis to win 12 of the final 14 games, breaking five times.
“A lot happened in tonight’s match,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “Enzo deserves credit for the fight, he played some great tennis, especially in the second set. We both had medical timeouts and struggled a little bit, but I managed to respond well in the third and especially the fourth set. I love playing night sessions. Let’s keep it going.”
Speaking of the hamstring, Novak said: “To be honest, it is not good at all. I will take it day to day. It was better last match, the feeling, than tonight, but that is all I can say, and now it is up to God to help me and the physio. I hope I will be able to recover and be ready for a tough match next up.”
Match statistics: aces (9-7), double faults (6-2), winners (63-36), unforced errors (36-32), total points won (145-101)
Novak goes on to face no.27 seed Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the last 16 (9-1 H2H).
The former world no.3 from Bulgaria beat Laslo Djere in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0.
On playing Dimitrov in the next round, Djokovic said: “I haven’t played Grigor in many years, I don’t think we’ve ever faced each other here on this court. Hopefully it’s going to be an entertaining match, I know him really well, we are friends off the court. Let the better player win.”
The 35-year-old Belgrade native is chasing a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam trophy and will reclaim no.1 in the ATP Rankings if he wins the title.