Novak defeated Fabio Fognini 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 in one hour and 49 minutes.
Novak stormed through the first set with a triple break for convincing 6-0.
He was a break up in the second set, but Fognini fought back and held to level the result to 4-4. Nole earned a break/match point in the tenth game, but Fognini saved it with a great serve and a forehand winner. Djokovic lost his momentum and let Fognini break him for the second time and take the set 7-5.
After dropping the second set, Nole again took hold of the match, breaking Fognini twice in the deciding third set to seal the win and improve his season match record to 14-0.
“It was definitely a difficult challenge today,” Djokovic said.
“It’s the first match in the tournament,”. “It’s my first hit this year on the center court. I started really, really good and I felt great physically.”
“Mentally I was there,”. “Confidence level is high obviously because of the run I had this year. Game wise, everything works. I had a very bad game at 4-2, couple of unforced errors, got him back in the match. Next thing you know, we’re one set all and a couple of tight games.” “But look, I’m not concerned. I know I have been in this situation before where I had minor setbacks in a match, especially in the opening matches where I’m trying to get used to the court, the conditions, and so forth. He’s a good player on this surface. He loves playing on slow surfaces. He made me work. He made me earn my points. In the end, I have done what I needed to do. The W is there, so I feel good about myself.”
“Fabio played very well towards the end of the second set but it was all my fault. I made a few unforced errors and after that it was very even, could have gone either way. “He (Fognini) is unpredictable as a player, you know. He’s unpredictable with his behavior on the court, also. I mean, I know him really well. We grew up together. We know each other since we were 12 because we are same generation.” “But sometimes it’s funny what he does. Sometimes it’s a bit annoying because you don’t know what’s coming up next. He started playing better.”
“I am just happy to get through.”
Match statistics: aces (6-1), double faults (1-4), winners (22-13), unforced errors (33-43).
Novak will face next Grigor Dimitrov on Tuesday.
Source: novakdjokovic.com ; bnpparibasopen.com ; tennispanorama.com