Legendary tennis player Novak Djokovic registered his 23rd consecutive win at the Australian Open, a streak that paused a year ago when he couldn't play in the tournament because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. Djokovic defeated 191st-ranked French qualifier Enzo Couacaud 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the third round.
Djokovic won the title for three consecutive years 2019, 2020, and 2021, but couldn't participate in the 2022 edition because he was not granted a visa for being unvaccinated for Covid-19. However, the 35-year-old from Serbia who has won the Australian Open nine times will want to reclaim the title. He has won 91 singles titles so far.
Performance in all four Grand Slams in 2022:
- Australian Open: NA
- French Open: Quarterfinals
- Wimbledon: Winner
- US Open: NA
Here's what did not happen Thursday evening at the Australian Open: Djokovic did not lose his way entirely and, most importantly, he did not lose in the second round, which is what happened to both No.1 seed Rafael Nadal and No.2 seed Casper Ruud. Seeking a 10th trophy at Melbourne Park, to add to his record, and a 22nd Grand Slam title overall, to equal Nadal's.
This did not shape up as a contest of much intrigue, given that the fourth-seeded Djokovic has done all that he has done, while Couacaud entered with a career mark of 2-5. And whatever Couacaud's chances were beforehand seemed to dim just four games in, when he turned his right ankle and required a visit from a trainer.
But Couacaud overcame that and played freely, conjuring some terrific shot-making and even having some fun, celebrating his claim of the second set by pointing to the court as if to indicate, "This is my house!" Which, of course, it is not.
This place belongs to Djokovic, who will play Grigor Dimitrov next in the third round, knowing that two highly-ranked contenders are no longer possible obstacles.