Sports Desk, Apr 21 (EFE).- Top-ranked Novak Djokovic on Wednesday earned a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 victory over Soonwoo Kwon in the Serbia Open round of 16, successfully kicking off his campaign for a third title at his hometown event.
Djokovic, who had received a first-round bye, came out with relentless efficiency and overwhelmed the 85th-ranked South Korean, with his lone hiccup coming when he dropped serve late in the second set.
On the strength of his powerful and precise ground strokes and potent first serve, the Serbian great rolled out to a 5-0 lead with two service breaks in hand.
The South Korean finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth game, but Djokovic then proceeded to seal the first set with an easy service hold.
The second set unfolded in similar fashion until the eighth game, when the South Korean converted his first and only break point of the match to make the score 5-3.
Kwon, however, was broken at love in the ensuing game as Djokovic won his first head-to-head clash against the 23-year-old in 68 minutes.
“I thought I played very well from the very beginning, except that service game that I lost at 5-2 in the second (set). I thought it was a pretty flawless performance,” Djokovic was quoted as saying afterward on the ATP Tour’s website. “I moved well, I was mixing up the pace quite well, making him play. I served well in the important moments, (and) overall I just felt great.”
Djokovic was back on court for the first time since his stunning loss last week to Briton Daniel Evans in the Monte Carlo Masters round of 16.
Next up for the world No. 1 in the quarterfinals of this ATP 250 clay-court event in Belgrade will be countryman Miomir Kecmanovic, who battled past Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 on Wednesday.
The Serbia Open, which is back on the ATP Tour calendar after a nine-year hiatus, is a tune-up event for the French Open, tennis’ premier clay-court tournament. EFE