Having won his 89th title in Tel Aviv last weekend, Novak Djokovic is clearly intent on adding another to his growing list as he swept aside Chile’s Christian Garin in his opening round of the Astana Open in Kazakhstan.
Playing in a new tournament, different conditions, the first match is never easy. Obviously, you are looking to see how you are going to adapt, but I did it perfectly, really, played as well as I can Novak Djokovic
It took the Serb just 64-minutes to break the Chilean five times and progress into the second round 6-1 6-1where the Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp awaits to contest a place in the quarter finals.
“From the start to the end, (it was) a great performance,” a satisfied Djokovic said following his12th win on the trot.
“Playing in a new tournament, different conditions, the first match is never easy. Obviously, you are looking to see how you are going to adapt, but I did it perfectly, really, played as well as I can.”
Throughout the match Djokovic looked extremely strong and despite being seeded fourth, is the favourite to win this week’s ATP 500 event.
Asked how long it took him to adjust to the slower conditions in Astana compared to Tel Aviv, Djokovic said: “I was lucky that throughout my career I was pretty good to adjusting to different conditions and surfaces.
“I think that experience comes with knowing what to do.
“Winning a tournament, losing in a final or a semi-final makes a difference mentally. Coming into this tournament, I feel excited and motivated, so I think that helps to adjust quickly.”
His main rival for the title will be Stefanos Tsistsipas, the Greek star seeded three, who required all his skills and patience to end the run of Italian qualifier Luca Nardi 7-6(2) 7-6(3) and advance into the quarter finals where he will face either Kazakhstan’s hero Alexander Bublik or Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.
“He’s a player that can play very well in the future,” Tsitsipas commented on the 19-year-old Nardi. “I was impressed by the level he was able to maintain throughout the entire match. There weren’t any holes. I believe today he was able to sustain that level from the beginning to end, and that was extremely impressive.
“I was trying to do my best, I was trying to switch it up as much as I can, but it wasn’t as easy as I had it planned in my head. He made it difficult today.”
In other action Andrey Rublev, seeded fifth, defeated China’s Zhang Zhizhen 6-3 6-2 in his second-round match.
Rublev now meets Frenchman Adrian Mannarino or Belgium’s David Goffin who shocked world number one Carlos Alcaraz in the opening round.
Marin Cilic, the runner-up to Djokovic in Tel Aviv, won his opener 5-7 7-6(4, 6-2 against Germany’s Oscar Otte.
Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler, who won his first ATP title in Sofia last week, was dumped out by Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 6-0 6-2.