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Djokovic crushes Dolgopolov in Rome

ESPN staff
May 16, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Novak Djokovic advanced for the loss of five game © AP
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Novak Djokovic made a serious statement of intent with a demolition of Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

The world No. 1 is putting the finishing touches to his French Open preparations and after a surprise early exit in Madrid last week, he has looked extremely sharp in Rome and simply toyed with Dolgopolov.

Dolgopolov came into the match having lost his two previous meetings to Djokovic and he never looked like breaking that run from the moment his Serbian rival broke in the fourth game.

The only moment of alarm for Djokovic came in the fifth when he called the umpire over to his side of the court and some remedial work was done to the baseline area. His mind appeared to wander for a moment but he composed himself to stave off the break point and secured the hold with a crisp forehand winner.

There were forced and unforced errors aplenty from the Dolgopolov racket and his efforts in the first set were summed up with a truly woeful drop shot that handed Djokovic a second break.

A wild forehand at the start of the second set did little to improve Dolgopolov's mood and it set Djokovic on his way to an immediate break of serve.

Any chance of a Dolgopolov comeback were snuffed out when he wasted two break points in the sixth game - the second of which was a makeable mid-court ball.

Dolgopolov avoided a second break but Djokovic produced a solid final service game to seal a 6-1 6-4 success. Djokovic is likely to face a test in the next round, with Tomas Berdych his next opponent following his 7-5 6-2 win over Kevin Anderson.

Juan Martin Del Potro, the No. 7 seed, is out after he lost 6-4 7-6(3) to Benoit Paire of France. In a match of small margins all three break points were converted as Paire edged his more illustrious rival to set up a meeting with Marcel Granollers, who beat Jeremy Chardy 6-4 1-6 7-5.

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