ROME: Novak Djokovic opened his bid for a fifth Internazionali BNL d'Italia trophy on Wednesday, beating S alvatore Caruso 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round.
Competing for the first time on clay since his semi-final loss to Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros last year, the World No. 1 improved as the match progressed to record his 51st victory in 60 matches at the ATP Masters 1000 event. In terms of matches won, Djokovic is the second most successful player in tournament history. Only nine-time winner Rafael Nadal owns more victories in the Italian capital (61).
"It was a very good test for me. I'm very pleased with the way I handled myself in important moments," said Djokovic.
"I was in control of the match. Served well when I needed to come up with a big serve and moved well. I constructed the points as the clay courts demand, because it's obviously completely different surface in terms of building the point tactically. Everything went well. I'm very pleased."
The 33-year-old, who tied Pete Sampras' tally of 286 weeks as the No. 1 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday, is aiming to lift a record 36th Masters 1000 crown this week. Djokovic currently shares the record with fellow 35-time Masters 1000 champion Nadal.
Earlier three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka crashed out of the Italian Open after suffering a shocking first-round defeat to 18-year-old Lorenzo Musetti. On Tuesday, Musetti earned his first ATP Tour victory defeating Wawrinka 6-0, 7-6(2) in a match that lasted one hour and 24 minutes.
Wawarinka made many unforced errors in the first set which saw him lose it without winning even a single game. However, the Swiss raised his level in the second set to work his way back into the match, overcoming an early break deficit to get back on serve. However, Musetti displayed fearless brand of tennis and controlled points against the 35-year-old, finishing off his victory with a winning cross-court forehand passing shot. (Agencies)
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