Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Classy Djokovic schools Dolgopolov in Rome

Classy Djokovic schools Dolgopolov in Rome

Since coming back from a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury, Djokovic has struggled for momentum - although he started of his campaign in Italy well by beating Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-3 yesterday.

The 12-time Grand Slam victor broke 54th-ranked Dolgopolov three times in the opening set, with another break in the second helping him wrap up the match.

The Serb, who faces one of two qualifiers in the next round - Nikoloz Basilashvili or Filippo Baldi - admits it's been a challenging time for him but is somehow grateful that he is getting a chance to be reflective and dig deeper to solve any underlying causes.

Following his second-round loss in Madrid last week, Djokovic has dropped to 18th in the world, his lowest ranking in almost 12 years.

"Let's see, obviously I'd like to go all the way but at the same time, looking at my results I have to be a little bit more modest I would say with the expectations and see where it takes me". "I think the conditions are quite suitable to my game", Djokovic said.

Most of the seeded players were untroubled on the first day of action at the Italian Open in Rome, with top names securing passage through to the second round of the clay court tournament.

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"Today's match encourages me to move forward and hopefully I can get a few more matches in Rome than I have in the last couple months", said the four-times Italian Open champion. And the 30-year-old said his focus was on the French Open where he won his last Grand Slam title in 2016.

"The French Open is where I want to play my best tennis that is one big goal for this part of the season". "It was windy and he used a lot of slice and great serves". Nishikori will face third seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the second round.

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. "Luckily I (won the) first set and after that I was more confident", Nishikori said.

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. Kohlschreiber came from behind to win the first set, but passed up on an opportunity to serve out the match in the second, allowing the Russian to force the decider.

Naomi Osaka, who claimed her first WTA title at Indian Wells in March, eliminated former No. 1 Victoria Azaranka 6-0, 6-3. American Madison Keys, seeded 13th, beat Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1, with Britain's Johanna Konta easing past Slovak 17th-seed Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-3.

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