Djokovic starts 'new chapter' with hard-fought win over Almagro
Novak Djokovic looked poised for another setback in a disappointing year, but he battled back to deny Nicolas Almagro a huge scalp.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic started his "new chapter" by producing a final-set fightback to beat Nicolas Almagro in the second round of the Madrid Open on Wednesday.
The 12-time grand slam champion last week announced he had moved into a new era by cutting his ties with long-serving coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic.
Andre Agassi is among the 'supercoaches' to have been linked with Djokovic and the second seed looked like he might need to make a swift appointment despite getting himself out of trouble to win 6-1 4-6 7-5 on Manolo Santana.
Djokovic was dumped out of the Monte-Carlo Masters by David Goffin at the quarter-final stage last time out and was in danger of slumping to back-to-back defeats, but Almagro was unable to claim a huge scalp in his homeland.
It all started so well for the world number 76 from Murcia, who broke in the first game of the match, only to find himself a set down in just 26 minutes.
Any hopes Djokovic had of wrapping up a victory in quick time were ended when he netted a forehand to be pegged back at a set apiece and Almagro maintained his momentum by taking a 2-0 lead in the decider courtesy of a sublime backhand winner.
The Spanish wildcard's lead was reduced to 3-2 when he sent a stray backhand into the tramlines and Djokovic raised his game to go a break up at 6-5, before going through when his opponent hit a backhand into the net.
Djokovic, also taken to three sets in each of his three matches in Monte Carlo, will take on Gilles Simon or Feliciano Lopez in the last 16.