This content was published 2 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Novak Djokovic survived a tough third round match against compatriot Filip Krajinovic 7-6(7) 6-3 to reach his 14th consecutive Internazionali BNL d’Italia quarter-final.
The world No.1 was pushed all the way by Krajinovic as the two players went toe to toe throughout the high quality affair which lasted two hours eight minutes – 87 minutes of which were the first set.
Djokovic and Krajinovic exchanged a break of serve at the start of the match and although both players had many break point opportunities throughout the first set – almost every game went to deuce – neither was able to capitalise. The set was full of long, intense rallies which tested both their physical and mental resolve as they battled to try and gain the upper hand.
Fittingly it was left to a tiebreak to decide the opener and although the world No. 39 opened up a 4-1 lead Djokovic fought his way back into it. The pressure was telling as he hit a double fault on a set point but he didn’t make the same mistake on his next opportunity, clinching it when Krajinovic sent a forehand wide to improve his phenomenal tiebreak record – he has now won 25 of his last 26 tiebreaks.
In the second set the two players were more comfortable on serve but although the games were shorter in terms of points, the intensity and pulsating rallies remained. With the first set under his belt Djokovic was able to relax a bit and grew in confidence, securing a break in the third game and then a second break at 5-3 to take a hard-fought victory.
“It was definitely one of the longest sets I think I have ever played. Never easy, I think, emotionally to play against someone that is one of my best friends for many years. I knew he’s in great form, and obviously my second match on clay, still haven’t started this match the way I really wanted to. I made a lot of unforced errors, but also credit to him for being aggressive and, you know, pushing me to the limit,” said Djokovic.
“I think the first set could have gone a different way, as well. Fortunately for me it went my way, and that has allowed me to kind of swing through the ball a bit more in the second set. Maybe physically and mentally he dropped a level, and I used my opportunities and kind of capitalized to kind of win in straight sets.”
Djokovic’s last eight opponent will be a qualifier as he faces either the exciting young Italian Lorenzo Musetti or Germany’s Dominik Koepfer.