On a rainy Tuesday, Novak Djokovic managed to close out a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Taylor Fritz in the second round of the Italian Open in Rome. All other matches scheduled after that were cancelled due to rain, including Daniil Medvedev’s showdown with Aslan Karatsev.
Djokovic and Fritz’s most recent encounter was a five-set battle in the third round of the Australian Open, but this time Djokovic came out sharp. The Serbian broke in Fritz’s first service game, and made 70 per cent of his first serves in the opening set to comfortably close it out.
The second set began in nearly identical fashion with Djokovic breaking in the first game to establish early dominance. The World No 1 had to step his level up to save two break points at 4-3, but then Fritz went for broke on Djokovic’s next service game at 5-4 and was rewarded for it by evening out the match.
After already playing most of the match in rainy conditions, play was stopped at 5-5.
When they returned to the court three hours later, both players held serve comfortably and Djokovic closed out the win on his first match point in the tie-break.
Djokovic is 4-2 since winning his 17th major at the Australian Open after a third-round exit in Monte-Carlo and a semi-final appearance in Belgrade. He improves to 4-0 in his ATP Head2Head Series against Fritz as he looks to defend his title in Rome where he is 56-9 with five titles.
He’ll next face either Cameron Norrie or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Earlier, 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov crashed out of the Italian Open when he was beaten in straight sets by Spanish qualifier Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
The world number 48 saved two set points in the second set as he dismissed the 2014 semi-finalist Dimitrov 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) to win in one hour and 43 minutes.
Tenth seed Roberto Bautista Agut booked his place in the second round with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over American Tommy Paul.
Madison Keys won the battle of the Americans when she overcame Sloane Stephens 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
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