Playing for the first time since that thrilling Wimbledon final, world no.1 and the defending champion Novak Djokovic defeated Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-1 in an hour and 18 minutes for the place in the third round. Novak earned the 346th Masters 1000 victory after fending off four out of five break points, suffering an early break and doing everything right in his games after that to mount the pressure on Sam who couldn’t produce the same numbers, losing almost half of the points behind the initial shot and allowing Novak to break him for times and march through.
Djokovic had 24 winners and 15 unforced errors, more than solid numbers in his first match in a month, blasting a service winner in almost 40% of the points and dominating in both the shortest and mid-range exchanges to leave the rival behind, especially in the second set.
In the opening set, Novak lost only one point behind the first serve and struggled a little bit on the second to offer Sam an early break in the very first game of the match after a lucky net cord. The American held with ease in games two and four to open a 3-1 gap before Novak pulled it back in game six following a loose forehand from Querrey.
Five good service holds later, Sam wasted a game point (sending a backhand long) that could have secured a tie break for him, allowing Novak to convert the second set point and claim the opener 7-5 in 44 minutes, gathering a massive boost ahead of set number two.
There, world no. 1 had to dig deep in games one and three, fending off a couple of break chances in both to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard, stealing Querrey’s serve after four game points for the American in game four to open a 3-1 gap with a forced error.
Novak held at love to confirm the lead after an ace in the next game, earning another break in game six thanks to a backhand mistake from Sam and moving over the top with the 15th ace in game seven for a commanding win and the place in the third round.