ROME, Apr 29 – Serbian world number three Novak Djokovic overcame a tough first set tiebreak to ease through to the third round of the Rome Masters here on Tuesday beating Spaniard Alberto Montanes 7-6 (7/5), 6-0.The titleholder took just over an hour-and-a-half to overcome the durable Spanish player.
Montanes – ranked 33 in the world – looked to have the first set in the bag when he led Djokovic 4-2 in the first set tiebreak but the Serbian recovered to take five of the next six points and in the process the set.
It was no contest in the second set as he ran away with it.
While the rain caused more delays and frustration for the players as it had done on Monday it will have pleased world number one Rafael Nadal, who has had an extra day to recover from his past two weeks of constant play having won in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Last year he lost early on as even his legendary stamina gave way and clearly exhausted after taking a similar route to Rome – again winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona – was not at his best.
He is due to take to the court on Wednesday against Italian player Andreas Seppi.
Russia’s former world number one Marat Safin’s waning powers were all too evident once again as having taken the first set he wilted and lost 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to Spanish 13th seed Tommy Robredo in 2 1/2 hours.