Barty and Djokovic survive first round scares
Ashleigh Barty and Novak Djokovic were both forced to dig deep in the first round of the Australian Open.
Defending champion and tournament favourite Djokovic raced into a 5-2 lead in the first set of his clash with Jan-Lennard Struff but was then dragged into a tie-break, eventually taking the opener 7-6(7-5).
Djokovic eased into a 2-0 lead but then suffered a third-set meltdown as Struff fought his way back into the contest, but the Serbian star claimed the final set 6-1 to seal a far from convincing 7-6(7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1 win in two hours and 22 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena.
Home hopeful Barty, the world number one, was taken the distance by Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko after losing the first set 7-5.
However, the 23-year-old French Open champion regained her composure and won the final two sets in style to claim a 5-7 6-1 6-1 win.
Barty accepts her performance in the first set wasn't good enough but overall she was pleased with the manner of her victory.
"It's all good, it's amazing to be back out here," said Barty on court after beating Tsurenko. "I couldn't wait to walk out here. Really nice to sort it out a little bit at the start of the second set and sharpen up.
"In the first set it was still in my control. I was just rushing points, trying to finish them too early."
Gareth Freeman is an experienced journalist who can offer in-depth knowledge on a host of sports, especially football, tennis, snooker and basketball.