Australian Open: Novak Djokovic fights off feisty Denis Shapovalov
Novak Djokovic hitting a backhand (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic fights off feisty Denis Shapovalov

The Serb dropped his first set of the tournament but was still efficient in his third round win over the Canadian.

notfirstnoel
Noel John Alberto

A day of firsts. It was the first time Denis Shapovalov stepped into Rod Laver Arena. It was his first match against Novak Djokovic. It would also be the first time this tournament that the world number one would drop a set.

Shapovalov had some early butterflies and did enough to take a set, but it still wasn't enough to take out the world number one who went through 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0. Djokvoic will now face Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Nerves Strike Shapovalov Early

The early sign of nerves struck Shapovalov early. A double-fault, an errant forehand, and a mishit all helped contribute to a quick Djokovic break. Unforced errors began to pile up for the Canadian as the world number one added another break to his lead.

The 19-year-old finally got a break opportunity, and Djokovic threw up a weaker first serve than normal, allowing Shapovalov to dictate and get one of the breaks back. Despite that, the Canadian was still off the mark trying to stay in the set and was broken once again to drop the set.

Djokovic's groundstrokes were solid today (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Djokovic's groundstrokes were solid today (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Shake It Off, Shake It Off

The second set was much better for the Canadian as he did everything better from serving to rallying. The disappointing first set was put into his rear-view mirror with the nerves away. He kept the set close until a sloppy game serving to stay in the set, including three unforced errors put the Serb a set away from the last 16.  

Down But Not Out

The bitter ending to the set had Sharpovalov rattled early on, surrendering his serve at love. Djokovic was out to a 3-0 lead and looked to have a firm grasp on the set. He threw in his worst game of the match with four consecutive unforced errors from 40-15 up to give Shapovalov the break back.

The 25 seed continued to put the pressure on Djokovic, who was frustrated the lights were being turned on during the changeover. Two double-faults from the Serb shockingly put the set in Shapovalov's racquet.

A hint of those butterflies came back to Shapovalov when serving for the set. Two set points were squandered with a break chance sprinkled in, but a forehand winner put life back into the match and to Shapovalov.

Shapovalov celebrates winning the third set (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Shapovalov celebrates winning the third set (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Brutality

The key second game of the fourth set saw Djokovic bust out his trademark defense as Shapovalov did everything he could to win the points. A huge miss at 15-0 up with Djokovic in no man's land with the Canadian hitting back to him a few times allowed the Serb back into the point which finished with a miss into the net by Shapovalov. 

Djokovic broke for 2-0 and let out a huge roar, and the floodgates really opened up with a second break of serve as the Canadian could not do anything about it. The Canadian just could not get his serve going in this set, double-faulting to end the match. 

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