Novak Djokovic defeated Nicolas Almagro 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in the second round at Foro Italico in two hours and two minutes.
Nole showed an element of rustiness as he scrapped past a determined Nicolas Almagro to make the third round. The world number one had not played in three weeks and for a moment his record of making the quarter-finals on every occasion he has played at the Foro Italico.
Djokovic had comfortably won the first set 61 but lost the second on a tiebreaker 75. The match was delicately poised at 33 in the decider until the Serb was able to deliver his A game.
Despite a performance which he admitted was not his best, Djokovic is adamant he will back to his best in future matches this week.
Nole: “At the end of the day it ´s a win after three weeks with no official match. In the important moments today I did feel a little uncomfortable. Maybe it ´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 great test. I was aware he was going to present a great challenge. Hopefully a day off will allow to spend some more time on the court, working to get better in the next one.”
He will play next on thursday vs Roberto Bautista Agut or Thomaz Bellucci.