Novak Djokovic makes easy work of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Rome

The Serbian breezed past the Spaniard to reach his 15th quarterfinal at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

File photo - Novak Djokovic in action in Rome; Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

Novak Djokovic made little work of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a straight forward 6-2, 6-1 victory in Rome. In his 15th appearance at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the World No. 1 has reached his 15th quarterfinal on Thursday. The Serbian has also won his past seven last-eight matches in Rome. Djokovic’s most recent Rome quarterfinal defeat came in 2013 when he was beaten by Tomas Berdych in three sets.

Djokovic, who owns five Rome titles, started slowly on Thursday. He dropped serve in the opening game of the match, but since then it was a one-way show. The early wake-up call helped the Serbian refocus and win the match in a convincing fashion. “I thought I played well. He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court,” Djokovic said in his post-match interview.

“I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him. He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

Tsitsipas next

Djokovic will next play Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas. The fifth seed had beaten Italian No. 1 and Madrid runner-up Matteo Berrettini 7-6, 6-2. Djokovic has a 4-2 head-to-head record against Tsitsipas. Famously, Djokovic had registered a five-set victory in last year’s Roland Garros semifinals against him.

“[Djokovic] has won here a lot of times. I am just expecting to go out there [and] give my best performance,” Tsitsipas said in his post-match interview. “He can play on all surfaces. We played each other at Roland Garros. I see this as an opportunity for me to do something better this time. I hope to be able to play the same tennis that I have been playing so far and be a challenge for him.”

Meanwhile, Reilly Opelka advanced to his second Masters 1000 quarterfinal on Thursday with a 7-6, 6-4 victory against Aslan Karatsev. The 23-year-old survived the match in one hour and 37 minutes and will next play Federico Delbonis in the last eight. Meanwhile, the Argentine reached the quarterfinal with a 7-6, 6-1 win against Felix Auger-Aliassime.

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