Despite a one-sided record in the previous matches, it was clear that Grigor Dimitrov was going to be a telling test of the form of Novak Djokovic. The Serb, who is still looking for his best match rhythm upon returning to clay this season, got very nervous during his match, complaining about court conditions and letting his opponent back in a match that he was in full control of.
“I know that he’s going to deliver his quality. He is one of the most talented players on the tour, without a doubt”, explain Djokovic being not short of compliments for Dimitrov: “Towards the end of the second set, he showed what he’s capable of. He started to raise the level. The momentum shifted to his side. I was set and 4-2 up… but I was very pleased that I managed to kind of find again the right rhythm in the first game of the third set right away. That was super important to make a break early and kind of hold things under control, which is what happened”.
He indeed managed to regroup quite swiftly and keep the focus up for the entire 3rd set, closing the match 6-3 4-6 6-1.
As mentioned already before the start of the tournament, Djokovic hopes to find his tennis in Rome like it was the case many times in his career. Even if he will not be the first seed in Paris regardless of the results here at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the focus of the Serb is to reach his peak and challenge for another Roland Garros title.
“The more matches you play, this is kind of a surface that the more matches you play, the better you will feel. Of course, I would love to play a maximum amount of matches in this tournament. That’s why I’m here. I think I’m getting closer to the desired level. Of course, you can always play better, but today I had a really good quality opponent and I think I delivered for most part of the match. Just overall a really solid performance and definitely a better level than in the first match. Hopefully I can keep the same trajectory in the next one”.
Full focus on Paris, for “Nole” then, but the defending champion said he’d love to play against Carlos Alcaraz in the final here, so it will not be easy to stand between him and this chance.