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Djokovic makes no mistake against Nadal-slayer Verdasco

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 17/1/17 Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his Men's singles first round match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco. REUTERS/Jason Reed
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 17/1/17 Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his Men's singles first round match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco. REUTERS/Jason Reed

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic launched his bid for a record seventh Australian Open title on Tuesday with an impressive 6-1 7-6(4) 6-2 win over hard-hitting Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

The defending champion defended brilliantly at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena to frustrate the man who knocked Rafa Nadal out in the first round last year.

Djokovic was forced to save five match points to beat Verdasco at the recent Qatar Open and was broken twice during a thrilling second set on the Melbourne Park centre court.

But the Serb raised his game as the 33-year-old flagged in the third to set up a second round match against either Ivan Dodig or Denis Istomin.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom,; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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