Djokovic made to work hard

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ACA­PULCO: For­mer World No 1 No­vak Djokovic was made to work hard be­fore fin­ish­ing strongly to de­feat Martin Kl­izan in straight sets on his re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion at the ATP Aca­pulco event on Tues­day.

Djokovic has not played since his shock sec­ond round exit at the Aus­tralian Open in Jan­uary, and showed signs of ring-rusti­ness be­fore de­feat­ing Kl­izan 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) be­fore a rau­cous Mex­i­can crowd.

The 29-year-old Ser­bian started slowly and was forced to save two break points in the third game of the first set be­fore hang­ing on for a 2-1 lead.

He had to save a fur­ther break point in the fifth game to take a 32 lead but then swiftly pun­ished World No 62 Kl­izan with a break to go 4-2 up.

The con­test then went with serve as Djokovic claimed the open­ing set.

Kl­izan was soon in trou­ble in the sec­ond set as he suf­fered a break in the open­ing game be­fore Djokovic held for 2-0.

That proved to be the cue for a mini-col­lapse, how­ever, as Djokovic was bro­ken twice and Kl­izan raced into a 4-2 lead.

But the 27-year-old Slo­vak’s com­po­sure de­serted him and Djokovic broke back and held to level at 4-4.

The set went with serve to go into a tie-break and once again Djokovic’s su­pe­rior ex­pe­ri­ence of pres­sure sit­u­a­tions told, Kl­izan snatch­ing at a fore­hand that went long to give his op­po­nent match point.

Djokovic duly sealed the win with a deft lob that left Kl­izan scram­bling to re­turn be­fore fin­ish­ing with a vol­ley into an open court.

Else­where on Tues­day, Aus­tralia’s Bernard Tomic wilted in the sul­try con­di­tions against Amer­i­can Don­ald Young be­fore re­tir­ing cit­ing the heat.

Tomic lost the first set in a tiebreak 7-6 (7-5) but then re­tired be­fore the sec­ond set got un­der way.

In other matches, third seed Maric Cilic ad­vanced to the sec­ond round with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 win over Alexandr Dol­go­polov of Ukraine.

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