Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Djokovic blasts into Rome second round

Mark Petchey Djokovic can make a strong comeback BC-TEN--Italian Open, 2nd Ld-Writethru,596
Steven Clarke | 17 May, 2018, 14:39

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".

Blokes lead the way as WA jobless rate tumbles
There was also a lift in the participation rate which measures the number of people in work or looking for employment. Full-time employment increased 32,700 to 8,543,400 and part-time employment decreased 10,000 to 3,957,700.

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.

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