Nole advances to second round in Basel

Second-seeded Novak Djokovic began his title defence in Basel (Indoor Hard, € 1,225,000) with straight sets win over world no.26 Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-2 in 1 hour and 12 minutes.

Novak made a break in the sixth game of the opening set and then consolidated the break for 5-2 lead. The 23-year-old Belgrade native had two set points in the ninth game, but Gulbis managed to break back. Nole earned three break/set points in the tenth game and converted the third opportunity to take the set 6-4 in 44 minutes.

The world no.3 dominated in the second set. He broke his opponent’s serve twice, in the fourth and eighth games, for 6-2.

Postmatch interview:

Match statistics: aces (5-5), double faults (1-2), winners (25-27), unforced errors (14-22), total points won (64-45).

“It was the first match of the tournament for me, and you never know what to expect,” said Novak after the win. “At the start of the match I was trying to find a good rhythm and I kept in control of the match throughout. I was returning well, playing patiently, playing good tennis when I needed to and I’m happy to go through to the second round in straight sets.”

Djokovic will next play against world no.41 qualifier Jarkko Nieminen of Finland who defeated German Daniel Brands 6-3, 6-2.

Nole and Nieminen have met three times, the Serb leads 2-1. Nieminen won their last encounter in Sydney 2009.

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