World number one Novak Djokovic revealed that he was forced to play some of his best tennis to advance to the third round of the Australian Open.
The Serb looked to be cruising against Quentin Halys, running through the opening two sets in just 56 minutes.
But the Frenchman rallied to force a tiebreak in the third set, where Djokovic revealed he had to pull out all the stops to prevent a fourth set.
“I think I played a good match,” the defending champion told atpworldtour.com.
“Third set was a close set. Was a battle. Credit to him for fighting, for serving well. We got to a tie-break where I held my nerve and played solid tennis.
“He’s a powerful player with a big forehand. He was aggressive every time he had an opportunity. He was just firing shots from both corners, from the back of the court. He deserved the credit and applause at the end of the match for a fight.”
The ten-time grand slam winner is under no illusions about the challenge facing him in the third round, where he meets 28th seed Andreas Seppi.
“I think he deserves a lot of respect for the amount of years that he spent in the top 30,” said Djokovic of the Italian, who has been ranked as high as world number 18.
“Very solid. He likes playing here. He’s not really overwhelmed by a big occasion. Played many, many, many times on big stadiums against top players.
“I expect him to try his best to win. It’s going to be a tough one. I need to earn my points. I need to be ready for rallies. It’s going to be a physical match. But the way I’ve been playing, I have a lot of faith and confidence in my game.”
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