Djokovic overcomes Delic challenge
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:15
The world number three was pushed all the way by Delic before winning the match on a tie break 6-2 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4). Delic played far above his ranking of 127 in world. He was only in the main draw following the withdrawal of Nicolas Kiefer through injury.
But he went toe-to-toe with last year’s champion firing down 16 aces and 46 winners, compared to Djokovic’s 30, in the match that lasted a shade over three hours.
The Bosnian-born naturalised American had taken his opponents in the previous two rounds – Taylor Dent and Paul-Henri Mathieu – to five sets and those exertions appeared to take their toll towards the end of the fourth set against Djokovic.
The first set was a very tight affair with each player holding his own serve until Djokovic got the breakthrough in the fourth game. The play then went with serve until game eight when the 2008 champion broke Delic again to take the first set in 32 minutes.
It was a similar tale in the second set until the fifth game when Delic finally converted the break at the second attempt then went on to serve out the set 6-4.
Djokovic got the early advantage in the third when Delic fired a return long in the second game to help the Serbian on his way to a 4-1 lead.
Then at 5-2 down Delic called for a medical time out to have some treatment on a toe and then fought off a determined Djokovic to hold his serve. But a love game for the Serbian handed him a two sets to one advantage.
Neither player gave an inch in the final set as they traded booming serves and ferocious winners from the baseline. But with Delic, the first lucky loser to reach the third round in Melbourne since 1991, appearing to tire Djokovic forced him into errors to wrap up the tie breaker and the match.