Six-time Internazionali BNL d’Italia champion Novak Djokovic overcame Grigor Dimitrov in three sets on Sunday, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, to reach the fourth round at the 2023 Rome Masters.
The world no.1 led the 26th seed by a set and a break at 6-3, 4-2, before the Bulgarian fought back and broke Novak’s serve twice to take the second set and level the contest, forcing a decider.
Djokovic, who is aiming for a record-extending 39th Masters 1000 crown, raised his level in the third set, and he made a triple break for his 1050th tour-level win.
With the two hour, 19-minute triumph, Novak improved his career ATP H2H record against Dimitrov to 11-1.
“I was very solid. I think I could have won in straight sets,” said Djokovic. “I was a set and 4-2 up and had a pretty decent forehand in the middle of the court at deuce on his serve and missed that. He held his serve well, we had new balls the next game, I double faulted, the crowd got into it and got behind him and of course the energy of the place and the match changed. I dropped my level a bit, but luckily I managed find it right away in the first game of the third set, made that crucial break and shifted the momentum to my side, so I’m really pleased with the way I closed out the match.”
Match statistics: aces (7-7), double faults (2-6), winners (21-28), unforced errors (10-24), total points won (90-74).
Novak goes on to play Cameron Norrie (GBR, 13) on Tuesday for a place in the ATP 1000 event quarter-finals. Norrie beat Marton Fucsovics (HUN) in straight sets.