Djokovic advances past Delbonis, but it wasn’t easy

Reuters

Maybe Serbia's Novak Djokovic figured his round of 32 match at the Miami Open on Sunday would be a breeze. But Federico Delbonis of Argentina had other ideas.

Delbonis gave the world's No. 1 player a scare, and Djokovic needed three sets and two hours to survive with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory at Hard Rock Stadium.

Djokovic, a six-time champion in this event at the former tournament site in Crandon Park, will meet Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, the 22nd-seeded player, in the fourth round on Tuesday. Bautista Agut followed up a second-round win over Janko Tipsarevic by defeating Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday.

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Djokovic led 3-1 in the second set and everything seemed to be going his way, but he dropped serve twice in a row and lost his temper.

"To be honest, I lost my focus," Djokovic said. "I should have done better mentally than I did in the first set and also the end of second set. I managed to really play well the last couple games of the first set, to go up a break and put myself in front, but then I played a couple of really bad service games."

Despite the second-set defeat, Djokovic came back strong. He broke Delbonis to take a 3-1 lead, then again before earning the victory on his first match point.

"It was an exciting match, and I am just pleased that I managed to hold my nerve," Djokovic said.

"I'm hitting the ball well,'' he added. "I just need a little more consistency to hold that level of play the entire match.''

The victory continued Djokovic's dominance over Argentines, upping his record in that department to 36-34since 2007. His only losses were to Juan Martin del Potro at both the London and Rio Olympics, the 2011 Davis Cup and the 2013 BNP Paribas Open.

In Bautista Agut's win against Fognini that took one hour, 24 minutes, the Spaniard converted five of six break chances.

Bautista Agut made the Round of 16 in Miami for the third time in four years. He advanced as far in 2016 and 2017, then fell to Kei Nishikori and Roger Federer, respectively.

In other action Sunday, No. 7 seed John Isner stopped Spain's Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-5, 7-6 (6), No. 11 Borna Coric of Croatia rallied past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-3; No. 19 Kyle Edmund of the United Kingdom stopped No. 12 Milos Raonic of Canada 6-4, 6-4; No. 17 Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia tripped Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-6 (3), 6-3; No. 27 Nick Kyrgios of Australia downed Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-1; and Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada controlled Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 7-6 (5), 6-4.

--Field Level Media

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