Australian Open: Djokovic gets over opening hurdle despite lingering effects of a virus

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Top seed Novak Djokovic shook off the effects of a lingering virus to launch his quest for a fifth Australian Open title with a winning start on Tuesday.

The Serb world No. 1 overcame Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in 1hr 49min in the Rod Laver Arena, where he lost to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals of last year's tournament.

Djokovic has been laid low by a virus for the last couple of weeks but still had too much for 116th-ranked Bedene.

"It's fading away. It hasn't been an ideal couple of weeks in terms of health and preparation," admitted Djokovic who won the tournament in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

"But I fought my way through. Now it's behind me. I'm only looking forward.

"I did well in terms of responding to the slow start today, feeling a little bit rusty on the court. So, hopefully, the next one will be even better."

Djokovic will play either Russian Andrey Kuznetsov or Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the next round.