Rome, (IANS) Serbian World No.1 Novak Djokovic struggled to assert his superiority over Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci in the third round of the Italian Open and eventually won a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory.
Bellucci, who had to make his way through the qualifying phase of this clay court event, surprised the defending champion initially on Thursday but was unable to respond when Djokovic found his form in the final two sets, reports Efe.
Although the match went the distance, statistics showed the dominance of the Serbian, who lost his serve twice but did not face a break point in any of his other service games.
Bellucci constantly struggled against the top seed’s potent return game, facing 12 break points and losing his serve four times over the final two sets.
Djokovic, who also needed three sets to win his opening match at this French Open tune-up event against Spain’s Nicolas Almagro, will next take on Japanese No.5 seed Kei Nishikori, who registered a 6-4, 6-3 third-round victory on Thursday over Serbian Viktor Troicki.