Top seed Novak Djokovic beat Constant Lestienne of France 6-3 6-2 in a first-round clash at the ATP Adelaide International on Tuesday. The 21-time Grand Slam champion took less than two hours to dispose of the 30-year-old Frenchman. Djokovic will take on another Frenchman, Quentyn Halys, in the second round on Wednesday. But what were the keys to the world #5’s win?
#1. Djokovic keeps things simple and error-free in the first set:
The 35-year-old kept things simple by being clinical and relatively error-free in the first set. Lestienne gave a good account of himself. moving to the net to keep Djokovic on the backfoot and also playing a few drop shots in an attempt to take the Serb by surprise. However, in the end, Djokovic’s quality and experience began to tell. Impressive consistency, allied to a sprinkling of star dust, saw the Serbian begin to turn the screw on Lestienne.
Lestienne started making more errors as the first set progressed and Djokovic got his desired break of serve in the sixth game. It was to prove decisive. Djokovic held serve comfortably enough thereafter, winning the first set Lestienne dumped a forehand into the net. Once Djokovic drew the first blood, it was always going to be extremely difficult for the Frenchman to make a comeback.
#2. Djokovic more aggressive in the second set:
Djokovic took more risks in the second set, trying to finish rallies quicker. That is perhaps a sign of his intent at the forthcoming Australian Open. He played quite a few drop shots off his backhand to drag the Frenchman into the net and then moved forward to finish points with volleys and lobs. There were also a number of crosscourt backhand exchanges between the two, but neither of the players pulled the trigger by going for the kill through a down-the-line winner. Again, however, Lestienne committed enough mistakes to allow the Serb to break him twice in the second set. The Serb did not drop his own serve as he recorded a convincing win in South Australia.
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