SONY ERICSSON OPEN 2012
Djokovic Makes Solid Start; Fish Beats Dancevic
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Defending champion Novak Djokovic passed an early test in his Sony Ericsson Open opener Saturday night, defeating former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-4.
The top seed won 73 per cent of his service points, saving both break points he faced in the second set to increase his undefeated record against the Cypriot to a 7-0 mark.
"He definitely deserves to be one of the seeded players," said Djokovic. "Obviously he struggled a little bit with injuries that took him away from the tour. But he's a quality player, there is no doubt. He's very solid from both sides. He has a really good first serve; he's an aggressive player; [and] he has a very flat shot.
"I thought I played really well. Towards the end I made a little more unforced errors, but generally it was a good performance for my first match."
Djokovic is bidding to win his third title at Crandon Park, having lifted the trophy in 2007 (d. Canas) and 2011 (d. Nadal).
In the third round, the Serbian will face off against countryman Viktor Troicki. The 27th seed rallied to beat qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in just over two hours.
"I don't know if we're going to play golf tomorrow, but if we do, I think that's going to be a hard matchup before the tennis one. We're always very competitive on the golf course," joked the 24-year-old Djokovic. "It's never easy to play with somebody that you know well. But on the other hand, maybe you can use that knowledge about your opponent and try to win."
Top-ranked American Mardy Fish began his campaign with a 6-3, 7-6(1) win over qualifier Frank Dancevic. Fish, who reached the semi-finals last year, dropped just two points on his first serve, firing 11 aces past the Canadian.
The World No. 8 will take on recent Delray Beach titlist Kevin Anderson for a place in the fourth round. The 28th-seeded Anderson knocked out American Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3 in two hours and three minutes.
Juan Martin del Potro, the 11th seed, topped Ivo Karlovic 7-5, 6-4 to advance in his opener. Del Potro was untroubled on serve, winning 89 per cent of his first serve points to claim victory in one hour and 45 minutes.
Del Potro will face another Croat in the third round, after 23rd seed Marin Cilic beat Igor Kunitsyn 6-3, 7-6(1). With the win, Cilic secured his first tour-level victory since returning from a knee injury in February.
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