Novak Djokovic said on Monday he likes nothing better than fighting for his life against a young spoiler.
And that was exactly the scenario for the top seed as he rallied against Italian young gun Lorenzo Musetti for a dramatic 6-7(7), 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0 result as the 76th-ranked teenager retired with an apparent groin problem.
“I like to play young guys in best-of-five, because I feel even if they are leading a set or two sets to love, I still like my chances,” the Serb said after his three and-a-half-hour epic.
“I’m physically fit and I know how to wear my opponent down. I’ve won most of the five-setters I have played in this tournament and in my career.
“That experience helps.”
Djokovic said he was sorry about how the match ended on a pullout but had no further sympathy for his 19-year-old opponent. .
“It’s unfortunate for him to finish the match with retirement. He was obviously struggling physically from probably the beginning of the fourth.”
Djokovic said a complete change of clothes after dropping the first two sets gave him a fresh outlook back on court.
” After I came back I just felt different – I was a different player.
“I had better feeling in my shots, more confidence going through the ball. I started playing the way I was supposed.
“When I saw him struggling physically, that gave me even more motivation to apply more pressure and finish him off.
“He was unable to physically sustain the level to give himself a chance to win, he was in the driving position,”