MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Novak Djokovic began his bid for a fourth consecutive Australian Open singles title with a 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-1 win Monday over Lukas Lacko.
With his new coach and six-time Grand Slam singles champion Boris Becker watching him during a competitive match for the first time, Djokovic appeared tentative early against the Slovakian player, who often appeared content to keep the ball in play and wait for a Djokovic mistake.
But as the second-seeded Djokovic's patience level began to drop, his skill level stepped up. He stayed on course for a fifth Australian title, the first man to achieve that feat since the Open Era began in 1968.
Top-seeded Serena Williams was next up on the night program at Rod Laver Arena, playing Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty.
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