Novak Djokovic Beats Bernard Tomic in Straight Sets in Miami Open 2nd Round

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2019

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - MARCH 22: Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot to Bernard Tomic of Australia during the Miami Open Presented by Itau at Hard Rock Stadium March 22, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic defeated Bernard Tomic 7-6(2), 6-2 in the second round of the 2019 Miami Open in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Friday.

The top-seeded Djokovic will play Federico Delbonis in the third round. This will be the first meeting between the two at an ATP Tour event. Delbonis opened the Miami Open with a first-round win over Peter Gojowczyk and then upset No. 32 seed John Millman in three sets.

Djokovic labored through the first set a bit. While he didn't find himself in serious trouble against Tomic early on, he wasn't creating any distance between himself and the 26-year-old Australian. The trainer came out to examine Djokovic's hand following the third game, which might have been the source of his problems.

Tomic broke Djokovic's serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead but immediately gave his advantage back by losing serve to tie the set at three.

The two exchanged serve over the remaining seven games before Djokovic blitzed through the tiebreaker. Trailing 2-6, Tomic lured Djokovic to the net with a drop shot but then sailed his lob well beyond the baseline to give the opening frame to the 15-time Grand Slam champion.

Djokovic's performance didn't improve significantly in the second set, but Tomic offered little resistance. Although they finished with the same number of winners (23), Tomic had more than twice as many unforced errors (32) as Djokovic (14).

Tomic was helpless on his second serve as well. He won 72 percent of his first-service points, but only 40 percent of his second-service points.

Djokovic broke Tomic's serve in the first game of the second set to take control right away. Tomic managed to hang around until he lost serve and fell behind 2-5. Serving for the match up 40-15, Djokovic pounced on a poor backhand return from Tomic and hit a forehand crosscourt winner to secure the victory.

This is only Djokovic's second event since winning the Australian Open in January, and he lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets at the BNP Paribas Open earlier this month. The No. 1 player in the world is clearly playing himself back to his best.

Delbonis is likely to pose a tricky challenge in the next round.

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