No 1 seed Novak Djokovic critical of decision to turn on Rod Laver Arena lights as he cruises into last-16 of the Australian Open despite brief scare against 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov
- Novak Djokovic progressed to the last-16 of the Australian Open on Saturday
- The No 1 seed eased into a two-set lead but soon opened the door to his rival
- Denis Shapovalov hauled himself back into the contest by winning the third set
- Djokovic became more determined thereafter and produced a final set bagel
- The Serb will take on 22-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev next up in Melbourne
Novak Djokovic allowed glaring lights in the stands to throw him off his game but pulled himself together in time to make the last-16 of the Australian Open.
The world No 1 was cruising at two sets up against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov before a row with officials led to him dropping his first set of the tournament.
He lost five games in a row before recovering to win 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 in two hours and 22 minutes.
Novak Djokovic made light work of Denis Shapovalov in their Australian Open third-round tie
But his impressive win still came with drama as he rowed with officials about court lights
Djokovic lost five games in a row before recovering to win in two hours and 22 minutes
Canadian Shapovalov was ground into submission during a clinical performance by the Serb
Djokovic remonstrated with officials about some lights on Rod Laver Arena shining into his eyes and lost his focus temporarily, allowing the talented Canadian teenager back into the match.
He also made sarcastic gestures to his support box, Andy Murray-style, during his loss in concentration in what was a curious episode on a sunny afternoon at Melbourne Park, with the clouds and rain of Friday having dissipated.
The offending lights were ignored eventually and he romped home to victory in the fourth.
‘I just tried to weather the storm, I made some unforced errors and he got back in the match,’ the world No 1 said.
Djokovic was feeling the heat in Melbourne and had to dry himself off in between sets
But Djokovic was cool, calm and collected on court and produced a commanding display
‘I think there was no sense to turn on the lights at 5pm when we have another four hours of daylight. I thought it was completely unnecessary to turn on the lights, they told it was for the television viewers.’
His left-handed opponent showed that he still has plenty of work to do before he lives up to his billing as a potential champion. The jury remains out on him as holes remain in his game.
Djokovic has still not looked quite at his best here, but is through to the fourth round without being seriously threatened.
He now has an interesting challenge against the improving Russian Daniil Medvedev, who is No 15 seed. Medvedev reaffirmed his status as one of the names to watch as he comfortably took out Belgium’s David Goffin 6-2, 7-6, 6-3.
Milos Raonic is also through to the fourth round and is amassing useful practice in tiebreaks, winning another one in beating Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-4, 7-6.
India cricket captain Virat Kohli was a famous face in the crowd for the third-round encounter
Shapovalov, meanwhile, was made to sweat as Djokovic continued to pile on the pressure