Fourth seed Novak Djokovic started his quest for a fourth tour-level title of the season in style on Wednesday, beating world no.81 Cristian Garin 6-1, 6-1 to reach the second round at the Astana Open.
Fresh from capturing his 89th career title in Tel Aviv on Sunday, Novak maintained his remarkable level in a near-perfect performance on his debut in Astana, Kazakhstan. The 35-year-old Belgrade native was in control from the beginning, finding consistency and accuracy with his groundstrokes to keep Garin under pressure as he capitalised on five from eight break points en-route to increasing his ATP H2H series lead against the Chilean to 3-0.
“From the start to the end, it was a great performance,” said Djokovic. “Playing in a new tournament, different conditions, the first match is never easy. You are looking to see how you are going to adapt, but I did it perfectly, really, played as well as I can. I just made him work and used every opportunity that was presented to me.”
Match statistics: aces (4-1), double faults (0-0), winners (19-5), unforced errors (11-15), total points won (54-25).
For a place in the quarter-finals, Novak will meet 34th-ranked Botic Van De Zandschulp (NED). It will be their first career encounter.
The Serbian star is making his debut at the ATP 500 event as a wild card entry.