2008 and 2011 Indian Wells champion Novak Djokovic overcame a slow start to beat no.31 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (4), 6-1 on Tuesday and advance into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open.
The top seed rallied from 2-5 down in the opening set to claim victory in 67 minutes, extending his winning streak to 20 matches (15-0 record in 2013).
Dimitrov delivered four double faults while serving for the set. Nole converted his second break point and held serve in emphatic fashion to level the result to 5-5. The 25-year-old Belgrade native took the set 7-4 on the tie-break in 45 minutes.
Djokovic made a double break in the second set, capitalising on his chances in the second and sixth games, and served it out 6-1.
“I tried to hang in there and stay in the match,” Novak said courtside. “I started very bad, very poor. He served very well but he made four double faults at 5-3 and got me back into the match. He made a lot of unforced errors and I just had to get the ball back in the court.”
Match statistics: aces (1-5), double faults (3-6), winners (10-11), unforced errors (22-26), total points won (64-47).
The Serb broke his opponent three times from five opportunities and won 78 per cent of points behind his first serve, improving his career record against the Bulgarian to 2-0.
Djokovic will face no.23 seed Sam Querrey on Wednesday about 20.30 local time (Thursday 04.30 CET) for a place in the quarter-finals. The American eliminated Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 7-6, 6-7, 7-5 in two hours and 46 minutes.
Novak leads their ATP Head2Head series 4-1; Querrey won their last meeting in the second round of the 2012 Paris Masters 0-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
“It will be very interesting. He won our last encounter in Paris indoors a few months ago. I played a few tournaments since then. Now we have different circumstances and conditions. We’ll play in front of his crowd. He has a big serve and big game. I will need to definitely start better than I have done today, and try to step into the court a little bit more,” the world no.1 said about the upcoming challenge.
Photo: Getty Images