Dino Prizmic had never played a Grand Slam match -- until he took on defending champion Novak Djokovic at Rod Laver Arena in the Australian Open.

The 18-year-old Croatian qualifier, who was born seven months after Djokovic made his Grand Slam debut in 2005, made it last as long as he could Sunday, unsettling the 24-time major winner at times before Djokovic finished off the match 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

"He deserved all the applause and all the credit he got tonight. He's an amazing player, so mature. ... He really gave me a run for my money," Djokovic said. "It was an amazing performance for a teenager who never had the experience of playing on such a big stage.

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"I started well for a 36-year-old, jeez, if you think about it, I'm double his age. I had some good moments, [but] physically I'm still finding myself on the court."

Djokovic made his Grand Slam debut at Melbourne Park in 2005 and has developed a record at the Australian Open that no man can match, with 10 titles here among his unprecedented career haul.

The first set played out just about as expected. From there, it became quite a ride.

Prizmic took the second set off Djokovic and went up a break in the third, stunning a capacity crowd, before the world's No. 1-ranked player broke back and took the set.

Prizmic didn't give up when he trailed 4-0 in the fourth either, saving a break point before getting a service break back. He saved three match points down 5-3 and made Djokovic serve it out. He then saved two more match points before it ended in 4 hours, 1 minute.

"This is his moment; it could have been his match as well," Djokovic said. "Amazing performance for someone who is 18. ... I certainly want to be in his corner. He's going to do some big things in his career."

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.