Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Novak Djokovic seals first win under Boris Becker

Easy does it: Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic secured his first win under new head coach Boris Becker at the Australian Open.

Defending champion Djokovic made it 22 straight wins at Melbourne Park and 25 in a row since the US Open final last season with a 6-3 7-6 (7/2) 6-1 victory over Slovakian Lukas Lacko.

Djokovic had a tendency to over-hit his normally rock-solid backhand but, once he won the second set tie-break, it was one-way traffic.

Djokovic hired Becker last month in a move that surprised the tennis world, with the 26-year-old's long-time coach Marian Vajda taking a back seat.

Becker joined Djokovic for the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last month, but the Serbian said: "It was the first official match so yes it felt different, but in a positive way. We both hope to get the right benefits and the right results right away here in Australia. We worked very hard during the last four weeks. We believe that hard work will pay off, as was the case in the past.

"I did not expect ourselves to understand each other so well right away. So it all goes in the right direction."

Djokovic was overall content with the match, saying: "I was happy with my concentration. I thought I prepared well. Physically I feel great.

"I know that I haven't played my best, especially in the second set. But also credit to my opponent, who was playing really nice tennis from the baseline."

Elsewhere, there were comfortable wins for top-10 members David Ferrer, Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych.

Third seed Ferrer, who reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park last year, defeated Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez 6-3 6-4 6-4.

The Spaniard also has a new coach having split from Javier Piles, his mentor of 15 years, and hired Jose Altur.

He said of the Piles decision: "We both broke it off because we were a lot of years together, and we decided to stop. Nothing else. Just that. Nothing personal. Javier is very special. He's a good friend."

Eighth seed Wawrinka did not even have to finish his match after Kazakh opponent Andrey Golubev retired with the Swiss leading 6-4 4-1.

Seventh seed Berdych also won in straight sets, beating another Kazakh, Alexandr Nedovyesov, 6-3 6-4 6-3.

German Tommy Haas was the first seed to go out, a shoulder injury forcing the 35-year-old to withdraw while trailing Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5 5-2.

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