Italian Open: Djokovic Makes First Round Winning Return Against Moutet

(MENAFN- IANS) Rome, May 11 (IANS) Novak Djokovic made a winning return to Tour after beating French lucky loser Corentin Moutet to reach the third round of the Italian Open.

The Serbian, playing in his first match since the Monte-Carlo semifinals last month, overcame a sluggish start to win 6-3, 6-1 in Rome. Following an hour and twenty-six minutes, Djokovic overcame a 1-3 hole in the opening set and effectively countered Moutet's court craft in the second set to win.

In their second Lexus ATP head-to-head match, Djokovic hit consistently against Moutet, forcing the Frenchman to take chances with his retrieval abilities. According to ATP Stats, the 98-time tour-level champion broke Moutet's serve six times to advance to an 18-0 lead in the first round of play in Rome.

"Match play is different to practise sets," Djokovic said. "I played a lefty and I have not practised with a lefty in a while, so it took me a little time to adjust to the different rotations of the ball. The first four games were quite bad from me. A bad start. I lost both my services games.

"But then I played well. I only lost one game from 1-3 down. Corentin is a very talented player. He has great hands and is very unpredictable. You don't know what comes up next, so I had to stay focused, which I did and it is a good opening match."

The top-ranked player in the PIF ATP Rankings, who last won the ATP Masters 1000 event in 2022, is a six-time Rome champion. With his victory over Moutet taking him to 1099, Djokovic is chasing his first trophy of the season and his 1100th match win in the Italian capital.

"You always have doubts," Djokovic said when asked if he had any ahead of his return to Tour. "Every single match. It is just the manner of how you deal with them and how long they stay there. How long they overwhelm your whole being and mind. It is an internal battle always more than an external battle. If you win that battle the external battle becomes a little bit more likely for you to win."



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