World No. 1 Novak Djokovic claimed an easy victory over Aslan Karatsev but after the match insisted the Russian can be a very tricky opponent when he is haivng his day.
Djokovic, seeded at No. 1, had a first round bye in Rome before he saw off Karatsev 6-3 6-2 in the second round.
Djokovic blew an early first set break but broke Karatsev again in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead, before serving out for the opener in the following game.
After winning the first set, Djokovic started the second set with back-to-back breaks and a 4-0 lead.
There was no coming back for Karatsev after falling down by a set and a double break as Djokovic served out for the match in the eighth game.
Djoklovic: Karatsev didn’t have his best day
“When you see him, physically, [he is] a very strong guy,” Djokovic said after his convcing win, per the ATP Tour website. “You never know with him. If he’s feeling the ball, he can be very dangerous because he stays so close to the line, puts pressure on his opponents.
“He was missing a lot of balls today though. He gave me a couple of breaks there in the first and second sets, but I’ll take this win for sure. It’s a straight-sets win against a quality opponent and I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”
Djokovic could meet a Serb in the round-of-16 as he plays next the winner of the match between Laslo Djere and Stan Wawrinka.
Djokovic is aiming to win his sixth Rome title this week.
“You always hope you can play some exciting and attractive points, and that you can come out as the winner of those points and celebrate with the crowd, obviously,” Djokovic said. “That’s what the crowd is looking for. Energy, excitement, fight, and they want to see some good tennis.
“We had some nice points today. It’s always good to play in the Colosseum of tennis, and this stadium certainly is.”