3/10/2019 9:29:38 AM

Djokovic dispatches Fratangelo to book Kohlschreiber clash

Djokovic dispatches Fratangelo to book Kohlschreiber clash

Indian Wells, USA: World number one Novak Djokovic shook off a nervy start to dispatch US qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo in straight sets Saturday to reach the third round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters.

Djokovic, playing his first match since winning a record seventh Australian Open title in January, was less than sharp in conceding an early break to his 128th-ranked rival.

He broke back as Fratangelo served for the set to knot it at 5-5, and then raced to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker.

Djokovic had to dig deep, however, when Fratangelo battled back to lead the tiebreaker 5-4. 

After a double fault and a forehand error from the 25-year-old American, Djokovic suddenly had a set point, and once he'd pocketed the set, the second went all his way.

"To be honest, I was a bit nervous in the beginning," admitted Djokovic, who is going for a record sixth Indian Wells title.

Djokovic, currently tied with Roger Federer on five wins in the California desert, can also tie world number two Rafael Nadal's record of 33 Masters 1000 titles.

"I haven't competed for over five weeks. I was a bit rusty in the first set. I was kind of waiting for him to do something with the ball rather than doing it myself.

"I was lucky to get the first set. After that, things went better for me," added Djokovic, who loped over to share a word with US great Pete Sampras in the stands after wrapping up the victory in one hour and 29 minutes.

Djokovic next faces German Philipp Kohlschreiber, a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Australian Nick Kyrgios.

Kyrgios, seeded 31st, was coming off a scintillating run to the Mexico Open title in Acapulco, where he defeated Nadal, ninth-ranked John Isner and, in the final, third-ranked German Alexander Zverev.

Kyrgios said it wasn't a matter of an emotional let-down in the wake of his first title in over a year.

"I didn't really have a problem getting up. I just didn't play well today," he said.

"He's an incredible competitor," Kyrgios said. "He knows how to win tennis matches."

As men's seeds swung into action after first-round byes, third-seeded Zverev advanced when Slovakian foe Martin Klizan retired with an ankle injury with the German leading 6-3, 2-0.

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