MELBOURNE, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Defending champion Novak Djokovic overcame a late surge of Italian Andrea Stoppini to win at 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 in the first round at the Australian Open on Monday.
Djokovic, Serbia's world number three, stormed to win the first set but saw him twice down in the next two sets before battling hard to win the match.
A gallant Stoppini, now 220th ranked in the world, jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set.
The 21-year-old Djokovic then reeled off the next five games to take the second set, but was struggling for form again in the next set, dropping two serves and trailing down at a worrying 4-0.
With the hope of taking the contest to a fourth set, the Italian, who had to qualify for the main draw, seemed running out of steam in face of the gritty Serb and was unable to close out the set. Djokovic finally took the match in almost two hours.
Elsewhere, seventh seed Andy Roddick was barely tested in his opener, deposing of Sweden's Bjorn Rehnquist with a 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Roddick lost in the third round at Melbourne Park last year, missed the French Open with a shoulder injury and lost in the second round at Wimbledon before making a run to U.S. Open quarterfinals.
Women's world number one Jelena Jankovic got everything under control despite a lack of match practice due to flu in run-up to the Open, beating Austrian Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-3.
Jankovic will next meet Belgium's Kristen Flipkens, who beat Paraguay's Rossana De Los Rios 6-3, 6-2.
World number five Ana Ivanovic stumbled through the first round with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Julia Goerges of Germany.
The 21-year-old Serb, runner-up at Melbourne Park 12 months ago, struggled with her serve and had trouble in finding her range on ground strokes. She was generally given the runaround by her 107th-ranked opponent before squeaking through.
"I took some time to adjust to rhythm and everything, to slowly get into match, because I never obviously played against her before. Actually never seen her play," said Ivanovic.
"I'm very happy that I took opportunities I had. It was very, very close first set. In the second set, it was lot of games with deuce and advantage. But very happy to keep my composure in important moments," she added.