Tennis: Djokovic starts title defence with routine win over Mathieu
MELBOURNE (AP) - Novak Djokovic did not have any trouble in his first match back on Rod Laver Arena since his shirt-ripping victory celebrations last year, starting his bid for a third consecutive Australian Open title with a 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 win Monday over veteran Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Top-ranked Djokovic faced only three break points in the match, saving them all, and lifted his tempo when it counted most.
His five-set win over Rafael Nadal in the 2012 final is already part of Australian Open folklore. He tore off his shirt and flexed his muscles after the marathon win last year, and is hoping to add another chapter to story by becoming the first man to win three consecutive Australian titles in the Open era.
Nine others have won back-to-back titles - none have completed the hat-trick since the Open era started in 1968.