ATP Rome: Novak Djokovic overcomes slow start and kicks off title defense

Novak Djokovic defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry in straight sets at Foro Italico

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Rome: Novak Djokovic overcomes slow start and kicks off title defense

World no. 1 and the defending Rome Masters champion Novak Djokovic made a winning start at Foro Italico. The Serb toppled Tomas Martin Etcheverry 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 51 minutes for a place in the third round, setting the clash against Grigor Dimitrov.

Novak won five points more in the opener and prevailed in the tie break after an hour and 14 minutes! Etcheverry grabbed an early break and kept it until the middle of the set before Djokovic pulled it back. The Argentine saved two set points on serve in game ten before the Serb claimed the breaker 7-5 for an early boost.

Tomas Martin made a promising start and grabbed a break in the encounter's first game after Novak's backhand error.

Novak Djokovic made a winning start at the Rome Masters.

The lower-ranked player saved a break point in game two with a forehand winner and held with a service winner to cement the break and move 2-0 in front.

Djokovic forced the rival's mistake after an extended rally to claim the third game and get his name on the scoreboard. Tomas Martin moved 3-1 in front, and Novak followed that pace with a hold at love a few minutes later. The Argentine squandered game points in game six and missed a forehand to bring the Serb back to 3-3.

Djokovic settled into a fine rhythm and produced two commanding holds to open a 5-4 gap. Novak cracked a backhand down the line winner in the tenth game to earn two set points. Tomas Martin denied them with service winners and held to lock the result at 5-5 and prolong the set.

It went into a tie break, and the Argentine moved 3-0 in front. Djokovic bounced back from 5-3 down and rattled off four straight points to wrap up the breaker 7-5 and clinch the opener. Novak defended nicely at the start of the second set and drew the rival's forehand error to secure an early break and move closer to the finish line.

The Serb held at 30 in the second game to confirm the advantage and repeated that in game four for 3-1. With everything working his way, the defending champion grabbed 12 of the final 13 points from 3-2 up to emerge at the top and move into the third round.

Atp Rome Novak Djokovic Tomas Martin Etcheverry