Djokovic has made the Rome finals the last two years, and an early loss this week would send him farther down the rankings.
Novak Djokovic produced a dominant display to thrash Alexandr Dolgopolov and reach the second round of the Rome Masters.
He next plays either Nikoloz Basilashvili or Filippo Baldi, both qualifiers, before a potential third round meeting with USA eighth seed John Isner.
Lopez refused to go down without a fight, forcing a first-set tiebreak that Nishikori edged.
Djokovic kept the points short and sharp, mixing up his approach expertly and showing no signs of being troubled by his elbow as he broke for a 3-1 lead in the second set with a cross-court victor following another thunderous return.
But against Dolgopolov, at least, he looked like the 12-time Grand Slam champion of old, breaking three times in the first set and once more in the second to wrap up the routine win.
"I know that I haven't been up to the level that I desired but I feel like my game has been going in the right direction in the last couple of tournaments".
"It is a mental game". Knowing that I've reached the biggest heights of this sport and been consistent with the best possible results for so many years. "The bar has been raised so, so high that when I step on the court I expect to win every match against anybody on any surface".
Madison Keys recorded a comfortable victory in the women's competition
Japan's Kei Nishikori, who like Djokovic is making his way back from injury, also got off to a solid start, striking 18 winners en route to beating Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (5) 6-4.
"Today's match is encouraging and gives me reason to believe I can go all the way, but at the same time I have to be modest" said Djokovic who has been battling his way back from elbow surgery.
"He used a lot of slice and great serves, but I think I handled his slice well", continued Nishikori who won his last title in Memphis in February 2016.
"The first set could have gone both ways, luckily I got it and after that I was more confident". Nishikori will face third seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the second round.
Spanish 10th-seed Pablo Carreno Busta was made to sweat as American Jared Donaldson forced the three-time victor on tour to a deciding set before easing over the finishing line for a 6-4 3-6 6-0 success.
Having already announced that this would be her final tournament, the 35-year-old Vinci was beaten by Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. "I would have liked to do better but it doesn't matter that I lost".
In the women's event, Japan's Naomi Osaka beat former world No1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-0 6-3 to set up a meeting with top seed Simona Halep of Romania.
Also, Madison Keys beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1; Johanna Konta defeated Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-3; and Petra Martic beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-2 and will next face defending champion Elina Svitolina.
The House That Jack Built trailer, cast and reviews
Anytime holier than thou critics who don't know the difference between real and fictional violence walk out, my interest piques. I had no knowledge of it but I for sure are interested in seeing it now. #TheHouseThatJackBuilt is a movie I need to see.
Total on Wednesday said it might quit a multi-billion-dollar gas project unless it secured a waiver from United States sanctions. "We've had a vibrant discussion on Iran". "We have made a decision to support the Iran deal despite the USA actions".
The chance to play Super Mario Odyssey was too enticing to pass up, and so the booth was plagued with long lines and heavy crowds. Nintendo will also give out exclusive Nintendo Switch pins to random fans who bring their console with them to the show.
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Recently implemented bankruptcy rules bar takeovers of stressed assets by entities related to the defaulting promoters. Through sale of assets, the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani led company was seeking to reduce its $7 billion debt.
Furthermore, Kahn Brothers Group Inc De reported 919,209 shares in Merck & Co Inc equivalent to 8.13% of its stocks portfolio. The company reported $1.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks' consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.05.
A subsequent joint press conference with Peters - who is also Foreign Minister - confirmed the arrangement. Ardern: "This is a letter that simply sets out our usual operational day-to-day way of working anyway".
William Hill said the new regulation could lead to a 35 to 45 percent reduction in annual total gaming net revenue. It added that the limit could result in around 900 of its high streets shops becoming loss-making.
In Play Stocks are volatile enough to produce good risk and reward trading opportunities for both bull and bear traders intraday. Moab Capital Partners Llc increased La Quinta Hldgs Inc (NYSE:LQ) stake by 276,662 shares to 523,024 valued at $9.66M in 2017Q4.
Why YouTube has waited so long to present this music discovery feature is anyone's guess ( Shazam anyone), but here it is. YouTube today made a positive move with the creator community by dramatically expanding music credits on the platform.
In the comic books, Ms Marvel's refers to her alter-ego Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teenager from New Jersey. We will remind, filmmakers are more willing to make a female team of Marvel and it seems even more likely.
CM to witness Orange Line test run
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif will witness a test run of orange train from Dera Gujran to Lakshmi Chowk today. The trip is scheduled from Dera Gujran to Lakshmi Chowk, a stretch spanning 12-km long portion of the route.
Fidelity Limited Term Bond ETF (FLTB) Rises 0.12% for May 16
With the firm's stock price now trading around $83.02, the firm has proven a solid track record of growth over the recent years. Positive BOP reading is an indication of buyers' dominance and negative BOP reading is a sign of the stronger selling pressure.
Meghan Markle's father in successful heart op
Meanwhile on Wednesday, her half-sister, Samantha Markle, was reportedly injured following a "paparazzi confrontation" in Florida. Markle in the days before her wedding", Kensington Palace said in a statement to ET on Monday following the photo scandal.
Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon afraid of retirement
Silvano Martina added: "I can't add anything more because he will reveal what he's going to do next to the press". The former Parma goalkeeper could make his 640th and final Serie A appearance against Hellas Verona on Sunday.
All-New Honda Amaze launched at Rs 5.59 lakh
The Amaze gets dual-tone interiors with a 3-spoke multi-functional steering wheel and a twin-pod instrument cluster. The front seats have adjustable headrests and there's a centre armrest with cup holders in the rear.