Following a tough opening round match in Miami, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is through to the third round of the Miami Open, where he will now come up against Steve Darcis for a second time on the professional tour. Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 1-0 but has not stepped across the net from Darcis for nearly seven years.
It is rare that the top seed is pushed to a deciding set after winning the opening frame with a bagel. However, that was exactly the case on Saturday evening when Novak Djokovic was forced to dig deep late in the match against Slovak Martin Klizan to secure the win. The first set last 22 minutes but he ended up getting broken at 5-5 in the second set to force a third one. There, rebounded with an immediate double break and pushed to close out the match 6-0, 5-7, 6-1.
“Credit to Martin for battling and making me play the extra shot,” said Djokovic. “It was a pretty different game in the second set than it was in the first… I have been in these particular situations before many times in my career, and the experience obviously helps just to regroup and find a way.
“I was frustrated, no doubt about that, and every athlete goes through ups and downs and various emotions during the matches like this, and it’s important always to regroup and maintain that self‑belief and composure.”
The Serb will now come up against Steve Darcis, who beat Norbert Gombos and Marco Cecchinato to qualify for the tournament before he added wins over Malek Jaziri and Gilles Muller to advance to the third round in Miami. Both his main draw matches required three sets, including his 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3 win over Muller on Saturday.
This is just the second time that Djokovic and Darcis will cross paths on the ATP World Tour, and the first time in almost seven years. That first meeting took place in at the Rome Masters event, which Djokovic won in straight sets 6-4, 6-0. While Darcis has been impressive this week, his win streak will likely come to a halt against the top seed on Monday.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Straight Sets
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