In Miami, Novak Djokovic shakes off slow start to best Tomic yet again

In Miami, Novak Djokovic shakes off slow start to best Tomic yet again

The Aussie has now fallen to 0-6 against the Serb and 0-7 in his career against world No. 1s.

After a close start, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic kicked it into high gear in his opening match at the Miami Open, moving past past former Top 20 player Bernard Tomic, 7-6 (2) 6-2.

Djokovic, a six-time champion at the Masters 1000 event, lost his opening match to Frenchman Benoit Paire last year as he was still working his way back from an elbow injury. Things looked a little dicey early in his opener Friday night, as the Australian broke for 3-2 and had game point for a 4-2 lead.

But Djokovic took his game to another level from there, breaking right back and eventually cruising through a first set tie-break, then breaking again in the first game of the second set. He never looked back thereafter, closing out the match after just an hour and 13 minutes.

"Tomic doesn't give you much rhythm at all. Every ball is different," Djokovic told ATPTour.com. "He can play equally well in the court and far behind the baseline, slows down the pace. He just has a very unconventional shot. Kind of hard to play someone that you can't really predict what's next.

"Second set I played better. Overall it was a solid match."

Tomic, who went as high as No. 17 in the world in 2016, fell to No. 243 last May and has been working his way back up the rankings over the last several months. He's yet to put it all together against Djokovic, though, as has now fallen to 0-6 against the Serb and 0-7 in his career against world No. 1s.

In his first tournament since winning his 15th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, Djokovic lost in the third round of Indian Wells to Philipp Kohlschreiber.

“I had hoped that I could do better in singles in Indian Wells, but I just lost to a better player that day,” Djokovic said this week. “But I’d had a lot of practice in between the Australian Open and Indian Wells, and I’ve continued practicing since then, because when you’re not playing matches, you’re always practicing to try and get yourself as close to the optimal level of tennis that you want to be on.

“That’s what I’ve worked on in the last couple of days, and we’ll see if that works here in Miami.”

All of the hard work obviously helped against Tomic on Friday night; with the win, Djokovic improved to 43-6 in his career at the Miami Open. He’s won the tournament six times—in 2007, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016—which ties him with Andre Agassi for the tournament record.

“Miami is very special for me because it’s where I won my first ATP Masters 1000 title,” he told ATPTour.com. “It’s opened a lot of doors for me and made me believe in myself even more. I’m trying to refresh those memories, even though it’s a different venue, and I feel ready to perform here.”

Awaiting the Serb in the third round will be Argentina’s Federico Delbonis, who upset No. 32 seed and US Open quarterfinalist John Millman in their second round match earlier in the day, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (2).

Delbonis has never beaten a world No.1, but he has three Top 10 wins: over No. 5 Roger Federer at Hamburg in 2013, No. 9 Stan Wawrinka at Geneva in 2015, and No. 2 Andy Murray at Indian Wells in 2016.

Djokovic and Delbonis will be playing each other for the first time.