Surviving a tense first-set tie-break proved decisive for Novak Djokovic on Saturday.
Staring at a potential one-set deficit, Novak Djokovic credited an hour-long tie-break as the turning point behind booking yet another fourth-round appearance at the Australian Open.
World number one Djokovic disposed of Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 6-4 in their third-round meeting at Rod Laver Arena.
However, the four-time champion did not have it all his own away against Verdasco, especially in the opening set.
Djokovic found himself trailing 5-3 in the tie-break, but the Serb rallied, capitalizing on three consecutive unforced errors to clinch an entertaining first set.
"It was turning point probably winning the tiebreaker as close as it was," Djokovic told a media conference afterwards.
"I thought I served very well, allowed myself to have a lot of free points in the first serve.
"What I could have done better I thought was just capitalizing on the opportunities, breakpoint opportunities, especially in the first set.
"But again, credit to him for playing well, serving very well, especially down the T. It's hard when somebody serves 215 down the T, on the line, you can't do much about it.
"I thought it was a good match. It was a big challenge for both of us. He was a former top-10 player, somebody that loves playing on the big stage, a powerful game. I'm glad to go through in straight sets."
From that point, Djokovic looked in ominous form, especially on serve.
The 27-year-old had an 82 per cent success rate on his first serve, which clearly troubled Verdasco.
"I didn't give him too many of the similar serves. I changed the pace, the angles. I tried to go for accuracy, vary with the serve, not give him rhythm," Djokovic added.
"He had a couple of opportunities. I think the closest he was Love-40 in the second set. And then couple of the last serve, my service games in the third set where he got 15-30, Love-30.
"But because I served well, I think that's what helped me to get out of the trouble in these big moments."