Acapulco - Former world number one Novak Djokovic was made
to work hard before finishing strongly to defeat Martin Klizan in straight sets
on his return to competition at the ATP Acapulco event on Tuesday.
Djokovic has not played since his shock second round exit at
the Australian Open in January, and showed signs of ring-rustiness before
defeating Klizan 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) before a raucous Mexican crowd.
The 29-year-old Serbian started slowly and was forced to
save two break points in the third game of the first set before hanging on for
a 2-1 lead.
He had to save a further break point in the fifth game to
take a 3-2 lead but then swiftly punished world number 62 Klizan with a break
to go 4-2 up.
The contest then went with serve as Djokovic claimed the
Klizan was soon in trouble in the second set as he suffered
a break in the opening game before Djokovic held for 2-0.
That proved to be the cue for a mini-collapse, however, as
Djokovic was broken twice and Klizan raced into a 4-2 lead.
But the 27-year-old Slovak's composure deserted him and
Djokovic broke back and held to level at 4-4.
The set went with serve to go into a tie-break and once
again Djokovic's superior experience of pressure situations told, Klizan
snatching at a forehand that went long to give his opponent match point.
Djokovic duly sealed the win with a deft lob that left
Klizan scrambling to return before finishing with a volley into an open court.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Australia's Bernard Tomic wilted in
the sultry conditions against American Donald Young before retiring citing the
Tomic lost the first set in a tie-break 7-6 (7/5) but then
retired before the second set got under way.
In other matches, third seed Maric Cilic advanced to the
second round with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.