Djokovic Goes Distance Against Dimitrov To Win 1050th Career Match

Djokovic Goes Distance Against Dimitrov To Win 1050th Career Match

Novak Djokovic advanced at the 2023 Italian Open in Rome after a difficult challenge against Grigor Dimitrov.

Prior to their third-round meeting in Rome, both players were aware that their form was far from ideal, but they were ready to change that at an ATP 1000 event in the Italian capital. After beating Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the second round, Djokovic met an opponent that he knew much more.

The match began with an unforeseen setback for Djokovic, as Dimitrov, the 26th seed, broke his serve to love. The initial hiccup seemed to awaken the Serb, who swiftly regained control by clinching the next four games, paving the way to a first-set triumph as he avoided being broken and won the set 6-3.

The second set, marked by Dimitrov's resurgence, brought some nerve-racking moments for Djokovic fans. The Bulgarian, capitalizing on a momentary lapse in Djokovic's level, strung together an inspired run of four games to force a deciding third set after his opponent led already 4-2 in the second set.

However, Djokovic's trademark resilience came to the fore, as he rebounded in exemplary fashion. In the third set, the 'Djoker' unleashed a masterclass performance, reminiscent of his glory days on Rome's clay.

His relentless assault, marked by clean strikes off both wings and a near-impenetrable defense, put Dimitrov on the back foot. As a result, Djokovic broke Dimitrov's serve thrice, securing his win and boosting his record to an impressive 66-10 in the Italian capital after winning the match 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in an hour and 20 minutes.

In his post-match interview, Djokovic acknowledged the rollercoaster nature of the match, admitting he could have finished in straight sets.

"[I was] very solid. I think I could have won in straight sets. I was a set and 4-2 up and had a pretty decent forehand in the middle of the court at deuce on his serve and missed that. He held his serve well, we had new balls the next game, I did a double fault, the crowd got into it and got behind him and of course the energy of the place and the of the match changed."

"I dropped my level a bit, but luckily I managed find it right away in the first game [of the third set], made that crucial break and kind of shifted the momentum to my side, so I’m really pleased with the way I closed out the match."


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