Solo flying Djokovic advances in Madrid

Just days after splitting from his long-time coaching team of Marian Vajda (coach), Gebhard Phil Gritsch (fitness coach) and Miljan Amanovic (physiotherapist), the second seed, Novak Djokovic of Serbia battled his way past the Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro, 6-1 4-6 7-5 in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain today.

Djokovic, who decided to fly solo for awhile, although being assisted by brother Marko, a physiotherapist and Pepe Imaz, flew through the first set untested.

Almagro then found some rhythm in the second set. Djokovic had two break point chances on the Almagro serve with the scores level at 4-4, but was unable to capitalise. Almagro held on and then broke the Djokovic serve to take the set.

With the local crowd cheering him on, Almagro’s good form continued into the third set and he soon found himself 3-0 up, but the two-time and defending champion in Madrid was not finished yet and drew on his experience to claw his way back, winning three games in a row. The match then continued on serve until the tenth game, when Almagro hit a forehand shot long, giving Djokovic the break that he needed. Djokovic then served for the match, which ended with Almagro netting a backhand return shot.

Djokovic’s next opponent will be another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, who defeated Gilles Simon of France, 6-3 3-6 7-6(3).