Novak Djokovic shook off some rust and US qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo Saturday, opening his ATP Indian Wells Masters campaign with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory.
The second-round clash was the World No. 1's first match since he won his seventh Australian Open title in January.
Djokovic went down an early break to the 128th-ranked Fratangelo, but leveled the set with a break for 5-5. He had to dig down again in the tiebreaker, taking a 4-1 lead before Fratangelo fought back to lead 5-4.
But Fratangelo coughed up a double fault and sent a forehand wide on his own serve and Djokovic was able to seal the set on his first opportunity when Fratangelo sent a forehand wide.
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From there Djokovic dominated, sealing the win after one hour and 29 minutes.
“To be honest, I was a bit nervous in the beginning, I didn't play my best. Credit to Bjorn for coming out firing from every corner.
“I was lucky to get the first set. After that things went better for me,” said Djokovic, who dominated the second set to book a third-round meeting with German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
A break of serve in each set was enough to give Kohlschreiber, ranked 39th in the world a 6-4, 6-4 victory over 33rd-ranked Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios had captured his first ATP title in more than a year when he lifted the Mexico Open trophy, beating three top-10 players along the way in world number two Rafael Nadal, No. 9 John Isner of the United States and, in the final, third-ranked German Alexander Zverev.
Kyrgios’s title run in Mexico wasn’t without controversy, with Nadal praising the mercurial Aussie’s talent while also charging he “lacks respect for the public, the opponent and for himself.”
Kyrgios shrugged off those comments and said Saturday he’d put the good and bad of Acapulco behind him.
“Honestly, I’m over that now,” Kyrgios said, adding that he was mentally ready for his Indian Wells opener but just didnt’ play well.
“I was feeling good. I had, like, five days to kind of find my feet in practice and stuff,” he said.
“I didn’t really have a problem getting up. I just didn’t play well today.” Some of that, he said, was down to Kohlschreiber. He’s an incredible competitor,” Kyrgios said.
Zverev, meanwhile, was leading Martin Klizan 6-3 2-0 when the Slovakian retired after less than an hour on court. The German had already broken four times and was in complete control before Klizan called it quits.
Zverev will face compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff, who overcame lucky loser Ricardas Berankis 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.