Novak Djokovic was severely tested before securing a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber to survive his opening match at the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday. The winner of the last three Grand Slams made eight double faults, dropped serve four times and smashed a racquet after losing the second set to his German opponent in the second-round encounter. The world number one was relieved to avoid defeat in his first match of the clay season.
“It was a difficult match, there were lots of breaks (a run of eight straight during the second and third sets),” Djokovic said.
“There were lots of ups and downs. It was not the prettiest of matches.
“He played well, but a win is a win. This was a tough first match of the clay season.
“I had to figure out how I needed to move, this kind of match can be expected. It was probably good for me to spend so long on the court.”
Djokovic was able to avoid a second straight loss to Kohlschreiber after the 35-year-old beat him last month in the Indian Wells third round.