Djokovic Downs Karatsev Advancing into R3 in Rome

Djokovic Downs Karatsev Advancing into R3 in Rome Photo: TT
Novak Djokovic playing Aslan Karatsev (not pictured). May 10, 2022. Rome, Italy. Photo Courtesy: Internazionali BNL D’Italia / Giampiero Sposito.

The World No. 1 Novak Djokovic opened his campaign at the Italian Open collecting his 60th career triumph over Aslan Karatsev Tuesday.

Five-time champion in Rome, Novak Djokovic, prevailed over World No. 35, Aslan Karatsev, in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 after one hour and 30 minutes on Center Court.

Speaking about his opponent after the match, Roland-Garros defending champion, commented: “You never know with him. If he’s feeling the ball, he can be very dangerous because he stays so close to the line, puts pressure on his opponents.”

He was missing a lot of balls today, though. He gave me a couple of breaks there in the first and second sets, but I’ll take this win for sure,” he added.

It’s a straight-set win against a quality opponent, and I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”

The third day of the main draw at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia saw the top-seeded player, Djokovic, hitting the court to play Karatsev for the third time at tour level in a quest to win his first title of the season.

Moreover, the 34-year-old seeks to remain on top of the ATP Pepperstone FX Rankings; he must advance to the semifinals or claim his sixth title on Italian soil. Otherwise, world number two, Daniil Medvedev, will be the new No. 1 on Monday.

The 20-time grand slam champion went on to take the opener 6-3 in 42 minutes.

The players exchanged early breaks of serve, with Djokovic taking a 2-0 lead, which the 28-year-old narrowed by breaking back to set a 2-1 score.

In a competitive tennis exhibition, the Serbian player marched into the win, gathering rhythm, although he’s not reached his best level yet, which reflected on his serve, despite the victory.

However, the numbers would change on the second serve, as Djokovic won 67 percent of the points compared to Karatsev’s 33 percent.

The second set showcased a 10-minute first game, where the World No. 1 broke his adversary to earn a 1-0 lead.

As happened in the first set Karatsev reacted quickly, breaking back to win in an intense eight-minute game.

Then, the 2021 Australian Open semifinalist lost accuracy in his shots, making mistakes he could not afford against such a high-quality rival.

Overall, the three-time ATP titlist never troubled Djokovic at the Foro Italico, who won the first seven games of the second set in a row, rounding up a solid first-round win.

Djokovic fired 15 winners, recording ten unforced errors, winning 76 percent of points on his first serve, while Karatsev hit 18 winners and 36 unforced errors, winning 70 percent of points on his first serve.

The former converted 4 out of 10 break point opportunities, while the latter converted one of two break point chances.

The 86-time ATP titlist awaits to meet the winner of the clash between compatriot Laslo Djere and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, an encounter set for Wednesday.

On Monday, Wawrinka earned his first tour-level victory in 17 months against 14th seed Reilly Opelka in three sets, fighting back from a set down to prevail 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

The three-time grand slam champion has been away from tour since March 2021 due to a left foot injury that required surgery.

In June, Wawrinka underwent a second surgery to treat an injury to his Achilles heel foot, starting a long recovery process.

In his on-court interview, the Swiss said: “I was feeling good on the court. Physically I was feeling great,” Wawrinka asserted. “When you don’t win a match in more than a year, you start to think about it more than what you should and not focus on the right things.”

In general, I think it was a great match, great battle. I stayed positive. I start to feel much better with my tennis by the end of the second set, and the third set. I’m really happy with this victory.

Djokovic has moved into the third round in Rome for the 16th straight time.

The Internazionali BNL d’Italia ATP Masters 1000 runs from May 8th to the 15th.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and a journalist passionate about sports, particularly motorsport, tennis, and soccer

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