Novak Djokovic win his 22nd match in 2013 after defeat Mikhail Youzhny 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and 15 minutes on Wednesday.
Youzhny raced to a 4-0 lead in the opening set. Novak got one break back, but the Russian sealed it 6-4 in 42 minutes.
In the second set Nole found his rhythm and started playing better. He reduced the number of unforced errors and won 14 straight points at one stage. Nole broke his rival twice, in the fourth and sixth games, and won the set 6-1 in 38 minutes.
In the third set Nole kept the momentum to break in the first game of the deciding set. The former world no.8 fought back to level. At 3-3, Youzhny saved three break points but he couldn’t do the same at 4-4. Novak made a crucial break and served out the set and match 6-4.
“My movements on the clay are still not at the maximum and not where I want them to be,” said Novak. “But as the days go by, I think I’m going to slowly get into it and hopefully I can elevate the level of performance in the next match. Today was a big test, over two hours. I had a great quality opponent. I’m very happy to win and happy to compete.”
“I didn’t know if I’m going to be playing the tournament up to yesterday basically. I know that my game is still not there, obviously, and I had a lot of ups and downs throughout the match. Physically also I think I’ve put double the effort than I do usually because I still don’t feel comfortable.”
“I haven’t practised much. An hour maximum a day. Obviously it’s taking its toll on my game. But as I said, happy to win and see what tomorrow can bring.”
Match statistics: aces (4-3), double faults (3-6), winners (24-20), unforced errors (38-49).
Novak will face in the third-round Juan Monaco on Thursday. The Argentine eliminated Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.