After a pair of challenges in his first two matches at the BNP Paribas Open, Novak Djokovic put on a strong performance in the round of sixteen, defeating big-serving Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour to reach the quarterfinals.
Djokovic Strikes to Claim First Set
Nothing had really worked for Novak Djokovic in the opening set of either of his first two matches. In the round of sixteen, the world number one had a simply average start, holding well while failing to do much damage on his opponent’s serve. But to his credit, Lopez was serving extremely well throughout the opening set.
But Djokovic still managed to time an assault well. With Lopez serving at 2-3, the Serbian made his move. He brought up the first and only break point opportunity for either player in the opening set and converted to break for a 4-2 lead. He quickly consolidated to extend the lead to 5-2. Lopez held easily to stay in the set, but he could not get anything going on the top seed’s serve and Djokovic held to clinch the opening set.
Strong Returning Sends Djokovic Into Quarterfinals
Lopez had not done much wrong in the opening set, but needed to make some inroads on Djokovic’s serve if he wanted to extend the match. But the Spaniard got in trouble in the third game, when he failed to close out his serve, only for Djokovic to fight back to grab the advantage and break serve for a 2-1 lead.
The break gave the world number one some much needed momentum. Four games later, Djokovic had a chance to blow the match wide open with another break, but he failed to convert a pair of break points. But Lopez’s hold only slowed the Serbian’s march to the quarterfinals. After Djokovic held for a 5-3 lead, the Spaniard served to stay in the match. Lopez found himself down match point, and while he saved the first one, Djokovic would score the break at his second time of asking, which also clinched the match.
By the Numbers
As usual, Lopez was strong on his first serve, winning 79% of his first serve points. However, he only got 51% of his first serves in, and Djokovic’s return got the better of the Spaniard’s second serve. Lopez only won 44% of his second serve points. The world number one broke three times out of six opportunities. The big difference in the match was Djokovic’s serve. He also won 79% of his first serve, but did far better on his second serve, claiming 68% of those points. He did not face a single break point in the match.