Novak Djokovic struggled through a competitive first set against Victor Hanescu before dominating his way to an easy win on Sunday night in the second round BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California.
The world No. 2 advanced past world No. 87, 7-6 (1), 6-2. ATP World Tour tweeted the news:
As you can see, the first set was surprisingly close, and the reality is that if Djokovic wasn't so clutch, he would've dropped the opening set.
In the first set, Djokovic saved all five of the break points he saw. At the same time, he won the only break point he forced.
What led to his struggles in the first set was Nole's inability to handle Hanescu's second serve. In that opening set, Djokovic won just 36 percent of the second serves he returned.
The Romanian Hanescu fell apart once the match hit the tiebreaker in the first set, however. Djokovic turned it on and only allowed his opponent one point in the tiebreaker. The momentum carried over into the second set.
Nole jumped out on top early and never looked back. To put a quick end to a match that once looked like it might drag on.
It was the Djokovic show in the second set. The Serbian was drilling his ground strokes and flying all over the court at his sliding best. Tennis TV helps highlight:
The performance is just what Nole needed.
Djokovic knows this is the time of year when he really needs to start turning it on. Josh Meiseles, on ATPWorldTour.com, passed along this quote from Djokovic: “Indian Wells and Miami is where I want to reach the peak of my performance, and I want to try to get as far as I can and have a good season.”
Unlike recent years, Djokovic has a need to up his game.
Djokovic is still searching for his first title of the season. The 26-year-old has grown accustomed to winning events earlier on the calendar than this. In fact, this is the first time in the last four years he hasn't entered this event after winning the Australian Open.
Not only has Djokovic not won an event this year, he hasn't even reached a final. He stands a strong chance to put an end to that streak at this tournament.
Djokovic knows what it's like to win this event. He won here in 2008 and 2011. He will continue his journey with a third-round match against Alejandro Gonzalez, who is ranked 91st in the world.