September 16, 2020 7:27:57 pm
Novak Djokovic behaved better Wednesday in his first match since being defaulted from the US Open.
The top-ranked Serb was principally courteous with the chair umpire throughout a 6-3 6-2 win over native wild-card entry Salvatore Caruso in his opening match on the Italian Open.
When the umpire got here down to examine a ball mark on the purple clay early in the first set and made an overrule in Caruso’s favor, Djokovic simply replied, “Yup,” and rubbed out the mark together with his purple sneaker.
When Caruso impressed him — the Italian hit 13 winners to Djokovic’s 12 — Djokovic stated, “Bravo.”
Djokovic’s solely testy second got here through the third recreation of the second set, which went to deuce seven instances earlier than Djokovic lastly broke Caruso’s serve. As the sport wore on, Djokovic appeared bothered by crowd noise, regardless that the Campo Centrale is empty of followers this yr due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The solely folks contained in the stadium have been coaches and others working on the event.
“Which ones?” the umpire requested Djokovic, attempting to determine who was bothering him.
Djokovic replied curtly: “There’s 10 people in the stands.”
On Monday, Djokovic stated that he had discovered “a big lesson” after he was thrown out of the US Open 10 days in the past for unintentionally hitting a line decide in the throat with a ball.
Djokovic, a four-time Rome champion, subsequent faces both Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato or Filip Krajinovic.
Later, nine-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal was to make his return to competitors after a seven-month absence towards Pablo Carre�o Busta.
Also in the second spherical, Rome resident Matteo Berrettini defeated Argentina Federico Coria 7-5 6-1, and Marin Cilic beat sixth-seeded David Goffin 6-2 6-2.
In the ladies’s event, Montenegrin qualifier Danka Kovinic eradicated sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-1.
The clay-court occasion, which was rescheduled from May due to the pandemic, is a vital warmup for the rescheduled French Open, which begins in 11 days.
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