/ Tennis

Novak Djokovic comes through tough opening test against David Goffin at the French Open

Updated: Tuesday, 28 May 2013 21:19 | Comments

Novak Djokovic dis not have it all his own way
Novak Djokovic dis not have it all his own way

Novak Djokovic was given a stern reminder that winning a maiden French Open title this year will not be easy after coming through a testing first-round encounter against determined Belgian David Goffin.

The top seed and last year's runner-up is looking to complete his set of grand slam titles in the Roland Garros fortnight, but his opening opponent provided a stiff challenge.

Goffin largely matched the world number one stroke for stroke throughout an entertaining encounter and Djokovic had to produce some of his best tennis to claim a 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 7-5 win in two hours and 13 minutes. 

Djokovic is bidding to become the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win back-to-back singles slams in Australia and France.

And while he was quickly out of the blocks, so too was his opponent, who reached the last 16 of this competition as a lucky loser 12 months ago and proved a handful for Roger Federer before being defeated in four sets.

The world number 58 appears to thrive on the grandest stage and won 84 per cent of points on his first serve this afternoon as the opening set went to a tie-break, with Djokovic failing to take his only break point.

Goffin, however, made what would prove to be a critical double fault at 5/5 and Djokovic took advantage to seal the opening set after 46 minutes.

The Serbian then went up a gear and while Goffin was able to come back from 0-40 down in his opening service game, he was powerless in his next as Djokovic finally converted a break point at the fifth time of asking.

But any thoughts Djokovic had that Goffin would quickly fold were dispelled as the 22-year-old levelled proceedings in the eighth game after breaking his stunned opponent to love.

Djokovic immediately broke back for the chance to serve for the second set and while Goffin, once again, defied the odds to save four set points, it was to prove an ultimately fruitless attempt.

Still, Goffin refused to be cowed into submission and kept going for his shots in pressure situations, saving two break points in the third game of the third set, to the delight of the Philippe Chatrier crowd.

He was pushing Djokovic all over the court to earn a break point in the sixth game, but the six-time grand slam champion used his forehand to great effect to hold.

Some wayward hitting from Goffin gave Djokovic three break points in the 11th game and the 26-year-old converted at the second attempt after overpowering his opponent following a lengthy rally.

The break gave him the chance to serve for the match, and while Goffin briefly raised hopes of another twist by winning the first two points, Djokovic came storming back and took his first match point with a booming serve and half-volley at the net.

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