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HomeSportsDjokovic battles past Dimitrov, reaches Italian Open pre-quarterfinals

Djokovic battles past Dimitrov, reaches Italian Open pre-quarterfinals


Novak Djokovic reached the last 16 of the Italian Open on Sunday after winning a battle with Grigor Dimitrov, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

Six-time Rome champion Djokovic initially looked in improved form compared to his sluggish tournament opener against Tomas Etcheverry but again had a fight on his hands against the former world number three.

No longer wearing the elbow brace he had in Friday’s second round match, Djokovic looked to have shaken off the injury which forced him to miss last week’s Madrid Masters.

The 22-time Grand Slam title winner lost his serve in the first game of the match but broke back immediately and in game four broke again to tip the first set in his favour.

Djokovic served out to take the lead and in game three of the second set broke former world number three Dimitrov, who handed the initiative to the Serb with a weak backhand into the net.

However Dimitrov levelled the set at 4-4 with a break of his own, angering Djokovic who was convinced that the shot which won the game was long, and drew huge roars from the Foro Italico crowd when he claimed the set.

However Djokovic has reached at least the quarterfinals in each of his 16 appearances in Rome and a powerful third set display ensured his passage into the fourth round.

It was his 11th win in 12 meetings with Dimitrov.

In the next round, Djokovic will face either Cameron Norrie or Marton Fucsovics as he seeks another win in Italy ahead of the French Open later this month.

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