Having seen Roger Federer struggle to a three set win yesterday, Novak Djokovic will be hoping for an easier time out against a similarly unheralded player. He faces Federico Delbonis for a place in the fourth round, where either Roberto Bautista Agut or Fabio Fognini awaits.
Delbonis’ successes have mostly come on clay, the surface he can owe his 2016 career high ranking of 33 to. However, two somewhat surprising wins here mean that he will find himself moving back inside the top 80 quite comfortably. He beat Peter Gojowczyk and John Millman to get this far, the latter victory seeing him come from a break down in the deciding set to win.
Djokovic wasn’t quite at his best in his opener against Bernard Tomic, going a break down early before winning 7-6 6-2 to advance. The Aussie’s unconventional style did pose some problems for him, even if the result was never really in doubt after early struggles. “Kind of hard to play someone that you can’t really predict what’s next,” Djokovic said. “Second set I played better. Overall it was a solid match.”
The pressure has risen on Djokovic a little after a disappointing loss at Indian Wells but he isn’t putting any more on himself. “If you’re feeling excited and also a little bit nervy about your performance, it means you care about it.” he said. “It’s a normal feeling that I commonly have coming into tournaments like this. It was nothing unusual really, except the fact that I was playing obviously on a big stadium for the first time.”
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets