Novak Djokovic needs at least the semifinal in Rome to maintain the top of the ranking. Fresh from the extraordinary battle with Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals in Madrid, the Serbian champion shows up at the Foro Italico in the main draw for the sixteenth time in his career and for the sixteenth time in his career he has passed at least the second round.
All relatively simple with Aslan Karastev, who had won the most recent of the precedents in Belgrade, just over twelve months ago, who really put up a good resistance for about forty minutes. Djokovic, a good Djokovic, takes control of the matter at 4-3 and practically puts on a win in great style.
Little to tell in the partial 5-1 and which is the background to the final 6-3 6-2, with the Russian who basically has time only to make the passive acceptable.
997 wins and counting… @DjokerNole avenges his Belgrade loss last year to Karatsev - taking the win in his Rome opening match!