Nole cruises in Rome opener

Nole is through to the Rome Masters third round.

Top seed began his title defence against world no.32, Australian Bernard Tomic, with a 6-3, 6-3 win in the second-round contest at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Tuesday.

Djokovic converted 4 of his 8 break point chances and won 69 per cent of points on his first serve for victory in 68 minutes.

Novak raced to a 4-0 lead with two breaks of serve. He was broken serving for the set at   5-2 but other than that he was untroubled. The Serb broke Tomic again to take the opening set 6-3.

A break in the sixth game was enough for Nole to take the second set 6-3 and advance to the last 16.

“It was a good first match,” said Novak. “I played against player with talent, you don’t know what to expect from him, he’s always changing his game. I’m happy about the game and the conditions, also another big crowd tonight. For the first match it’s satisfying and I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Match statistics: aces (5-2), double faults (1-0), winners (20-15), unforced errors (15-30), total points won (66-49).

Djokovic has improved to a 27-4 match record on the season. The reigning champion now has a 19-3 career mark in Rome. Last year he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event finals.

Novak will meet no.14 seed Juan Monaco on Thursday for a place in the quarter-finals. The Argentine eliminated Czech Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-2.

The 24-year-old Belgrade native has won all five previous encounters with Monaco.

Photo: AP

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