Rome Masters: Novak Djokovic survives Nicolas Almagro test to progress to third round
After missing Madrid Open, Novak Djokovic returned to action against Nicolas Almagro in the second round of the Rome Masters. The Serb looked rusty in his 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 win over the Spaniard, but will take plenty of positives out of this match.
Both players registered impressive numbers on their first serve in the opening set, but it was Djokovic’s deep returns that troubled Almagro as he lost serve twice to trail by a set to love.
The second set was an even affair with neither player looking troubled on their serves. Almagro had a chance to go 4-2 up when he had a break point opportunity, but Djokovic denied him with a brilliant forehand winner down the line. The set went to a tie-break and it looked like Djokovic would wrap it up in straight sets as he led 5-2 in the breaker. The Spaniard won five points in a row to force a decider.
Almagro was in trouble when he went down trying to retrive a ball at 2-2 in the third set. However, the Spaniard decided to play on. Djokovic got the crucial break of serve in the eighth game to go 5-3 up, before closing out the match in the ninth game.
"In the important moments today I did feel a little uncomfortable. Maybe that's from lack of playing," Djokovic said. "I'm sure I'll be back on track in no time."
The World No. 1 improved his winning streak to 18 matches as he looks to defend his title in Rome.
In other matches at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Stan Wawrinka prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 over Argentine Juan Monaco. Tomas Berdych reached the third round without any hiccus as he dispatched wildcard Matteo Donati 6-2, 6-4 in just 75 minutes.
No. 7 seed David Ferrer got the better of Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-5. Marin Cilic was disappointing in his 4-6, 3-6 loss against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The 2014 US Open champion never found any rhythm on court against the Spaniard.
Nick Kyrgios, who took out Roger Federer in Madrid fell to Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6(4). Jo-Wilfried Tsonga dismissed American Sam Querrey 7-6 (6), 6-0 to reach the second round.Roberto Bautista Agut also progressed to the next round with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 win over his compatriot Marcel Granollers.