Despite not playing that many tournaments this season, Novak Djokovic has been a player to beat after winning 27 out of 28 matches at Majors. Novak had a unique chance to conquer the elusive calendar Grand Slam, winning the opening three Majors and reaching the US Open title clash.
Still, the Serb cracked under pressure and suffered a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss to Daniil Medvedev, failing to secure the 21st Major title and staying away from the court for 50 days. Skipping Indian Wells, Novak decided to enter Paris, Turin and the Davis Cup Finals, eager to leave the New York setback behind and chase the year-end no.
1 spot and a notable team title for his country. In his first encounter in 50 days, Djokovic made a winning start in Paris thanks to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Marton Fucsovics in two hours. World no. 1 lost the second set, but he played on a solid level considering the lack of competitive matches recently, finishing the encounter with 24 winners and 23 unforced errors.
The five-time champion was pleased with how he performed, finding his rhythm and overpowering the persistent rival who gave his best to stay in touch. Novak moved in front with an early break in the opener's game two and built a 4-1 lead after an unreturned serve.
The Serb grabbed another break at 5-2 to seal the opener in style and gather a boost.
Novak Djokovic made a winning debut in Paris after staying off the court for 50 days.
Fucsovics fended off a break chance in the second set's second game, broke Djokovic in the next one and held at love to move 3-1 in front.
The Hungarian grabbed the eighth game with a backhand crosscourt winner and fired a service winner at 5-4 to extend his chances for a surprise. Novak stayed calm at 0-30 in the third set's third game to bring it home with a winner and avoid a possible scare.
He broke Marton at love in the next one before the Hungarian broke back to prolong the battle. In the sixth game, Djokovic took the fourth break chance and held with a service winner in the next one to forge a 5-2 advantage.
Fucsovics fended off a match point in game eight before Djokovic sealed the deal with a forehand drive-volley winner on his serve for a place in the third round. "It was great to be back on the court after almost two months without competition.
I did not expect anything, but I knew this was not going to be an easy match. Marton is a very talented player; he has a lot of quality. It was a great fight. I could not break his serve, he was playing with a lot of precision, and we pushed each other to the limit.
It was a great opening match for me, and I'm very pleased. It's just about spending time on the court, finding that match play intensity and playing more points. The more matches I play, I think I'm going to get better.
I know myself well, I was in this situation before quite a lot of times, so hopefully, the experience can play a role in doing the job well," Novak Djokovic said.