Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Solid start for Djokovic in Rome

Solid start for Djokovic in Rome

Perhaps Djokovic can find comfort in the fact that he has never lost before the quarterfinals in 11 appearances in Rome.

Novak Djokovic produced a dominant display to thrash Alexandr Dolgopolov and reach the second round of the Rome Masters.

Djokovic has reached the last four straight finals and five of the last six, winning twice - in 2013 and 2014.

The Serbian has dropped to world No 18 - his lowest ranking in 12 years - having failed to progress past the round of 16 in any of his six events in 2018.

The Serb, who faces one of two qualifiers in the next round - Nikoloz Basilashvili or Filippo Baldi - admits it's been a challenging time for him but is somehow grateful that he is getting a chance to be reflective and dig deeper to solve any underlying causes.

"I would like to go all the way but at the same time, looking at my results, I have to be a little bit more modest with expectations". "I think the conditions are quite suitable to my game", Djokovic said.

"I know that I haven't been up to the level that I desired but I feel like my game has been going in the right direction in the last couple of tournaments". Knowing that I've reached the biggest heights of this sport and been consistent with the best possible results for so many years. "The bar has been raised so, so high that when I step on the court I expect to win every match against anybody on any surface".

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"It wasn't easy match", said Nishikori.

He was far from convincing against Feliciano Lopez, but did enough to claim a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory and set up an enticing encounter with Grigor Dimitrov. "It was windy. And he used a lot of slice and great serves. After that I was more confident".

Ninth seed David Goffin blasted Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-2 while 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta needed three sets to beat Jared Donaldson 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.

Japan's Kei Nishikori eased into the second round of the ATP Italian Open in Rome on Monday as Italy's Roberta Vinci bowed out of her final WTA tournament with a first round defeat.

The 35-year-old reached the US Open final in 2010 and won ten singles title in her career spanning almost two decades. "I'm happy for what I've accomplished", Vinci said in a post-match ceremony. "Changes in general are good when they're focused on improvement and that's what I'm focused on and we'll see where it takes me".

Also, Madison Keys beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1; Johanna Konta defeated Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-3; and Petra Martic beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-2 and will next face defending champion Elina Svitolina. The former French Open champion Schiavone was edged 1-6, 7-6 (5), 2-6 by Dominika Cibulkova while the 2015 US Open runner-up Vinci fell 6-2, 0-6, 3-6 to Alexandra Krunic in what was the last professional match of her career.

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