Italian Open: Djokovic survives second round scare

Defending champion Novak Djokovic is through to the third round of the Italian Open but it came after he was forced to survive a scare against Nicolas Almagro yesterday.

The Serb was given a first round by and took on Almagro – currently ranked 100th in the world – in the second round. The first set was relatively comfortable as he secured a 6-1 win, but Almagro bounced back in the second set to put more pressure on the Australian Open champion.

The game was forced to a tiebreaker and Djokovic was initially leading it 5-2, before being outplayed by Almagro, who eventually claimed the second set. But the world number one recovered from his free fall to dominate and win the third set 6-3.

“At the end of the day it’s a win after three weeks with no official match,” said Djokovic after the match.

“In the important moments today, I did feel a little bit uncomfortable. Maybe that’s due to a lack of competitive play in the past couple of weeks.

“But I won against a quality player, who knows how to play on the big stage. All in all, it was a great test. Before coming to the court I was aware he was going to present a great challenge.”

Djokovic will next face Brazilian Thomaz Belluci, who downed 19th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 1-6, 6-1, 6-4.

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