Novak Djokovic expressed his relief there was once no “mental or emotional blockages or drama” as he swept past Italian wild card entry Salvatore Caruso into the Italian Open third round on Wednesday in his first match since his US Open default. “I used to be in fact taking a look forward to receive the official match as soon as conceivable after what happened in New York,” said the world number one. The Serb was once on his best behaviour after his dramatic final 16 disqualification on September 6 after he accidently struck a line pass judgement on with a ball hit in frustration.
“I did not feel that I had any mental or emotional blockages or any dramas playing a match today,” he said.
Djokovic, who had said he had learned a “big lesson” from his first ever disqualification, was once eager to move on in Rome.
The 33-year-old playfully greeted an imaginary crowd in an empty Central Court at the Foro Italico on account of strict coronavirus measures.
Only a few noisy workers managed to unnerve the 17-time Grand Slam winner after lacking break points.
“It was once very, very quiet, which is very odd to what we are used to here in Rome, which has one of the vital loudest and most energetic crowd atmospheres on the tour.
“But there was once somebody in the hall on the stadium that was once talking, approximately five, six people, I have no idea who it was once, but it was once noise coming from there all through the points.
“That is the only object that we, I and Caruso, also told chair umpire.”
Djokovic continued where he left off before his US Open exit, having won the Cincinnati Masters on the same Flushing Meadows courts.
“It was once a very good test for me. I’m very pleased with the way I handled myself in important moments,” said Djokovic, who was once unbeaten in 2020 before his US Open default.
“I used to be in keep an eye on of the match.”
Halep, Azarenka advance
Djokovic, who has played nine finals in Rome, and won four titles, will meet either 29th-ranked compatriot Filip Krajinovic or Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato, ranked 113th, for a place in the quarter-finals.
Nine-time Rome winner Rafael Nadal will make his return to competition later on Wednesday after a six-month hiatus linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number two seed plays fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, a recent semi-finalist at the United States Open, for a place in the third round.
Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas fell to Italian teenager Jannik Sinner 6-1, 6-7 (9/11), 6-2, with sixth seeded Belgian David Goffin also exiting 6-2, 6-2 to Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
Top women’s seed Simona Halep returned a month after winning in Prague to ease past 99th-ranked Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-4.
“It was once a little bit difficult to receive the rhythm and to receive relaxed,” said the 28-year-old Romanian, who skipped the United States Open but is warming up for a tender for a second vinaigrette Open title later this month.
The world number two, a two-time Rome finalist, next meets either American Amanda Anisimova or Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine.
US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka shrugged off the move from tough court to the clay surface to defeat American Venus Williams 7-6 (9/7), 6-2, in their first round match.
Belarusian Azarenka will play third seeded American Sofia Kenin, the reigning Australian Open champion, for a place in the third round.
Swiss sixth seed Belinda Bencic fell 6-3, 6-1 in her second round match to Montenegro’s 86th-ranked Danka Kovinic.
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