World no.1 Novak Djokovic came back from a set and a break down to win his third round clash with no.14 seed Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Thursday.
The two-time Rome champion needed two hours and 19 minutes to get by the Argentine in difficult windy conditions.
Juan Monaco got the opening break of the match in the fifth game and and kept the advantage to take the first set 6-4 in 55 minutes.
It took Novak some time to adjust to the conditions and to find his rhythm. The Argentine was playing really well. He made a break in the third game of the second set. Djokovic found himself in real trouble being down a set and a break, but showed his heart of a champion and broke back immediately. Moreover, he made a triple break to win the set 6-2.
The deciding third set went on serve until the eighth game when the 24-year-old Serbian star broke his opponent for 5-3 lead. He closed out the set and match 6-3 to reach the last eight at the Foro Italico.
“Mental strength is what is needed, especially when you are playing against a player who has already won two tournaments on this surface this year already and is playing with confidence,” Novak said. “There are many thoughts that go through your head when you are down a set but you try and focus and think positive… I have enough experience to know what to do and I used it today.”
Match statistics: aces (3-0), double faults (0-2), winners (16-17), unforced errors (40-48), total points won (87-74).
In the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event quarter-finals, Djokovic will meet no.5 seed Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who beat Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro.
Nole will look to level their H2H record when they meet for the tenth time on Friday.