Novak Djokovic overcame the frustrations of lengthy rain delay to beat Taylor Fritz in his opening match at the Italian Open.
The world No 1, playing his first tournament since losing in the semi-finals of the Serbia Open, came through 6-3 7-6(5) against the 23-year-old.
Most of the match was played in rainy conditions and play was eventually suspended at 5-5 in the second set after a vocal Djokovic had been broken serving for the win.
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The contest was delayed for around two hours due to rain and all other ATP matches for the day were cancelled.
Djokovic had been pushed to five sets by Fritz at the Australian Open earlier this year, but wasn’t troubled too much by the American on this occasion.
He raced into a 3-0 lead as rain started to fall and looked solid on his way to taking the opening set.
He looked to be heading for victory after breaking twice in the second set, only for Fritz to break back with a superb backhand passing shot as Djokovic served for the match.
The world No 1 was unhappy that play was continuing in the rain, shouting at the umpire: How much more do you want to play?”. Play was then suspended for around two hours before the players returned and Djokovic secured the win.
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Qualifier Alejandro Davidovich Fokina saved two set points in the second set as he won 6-4 7-6(2) against 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov.
He will next face Cameron Norrie, who won 6-4 6-4 against Roberto Carballes Baena.
Denis Shapovalov opened his campaign with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Polish qualifier Kamil Majchrzak while Reilly Opelka beat Italian youngster Lorenzo Musetti 6-4 6-4.
Felix Auger-Aliassime secured his first top-10 win since 2019 as he beat last year’s Rome runner-up Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3.
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