Djokovic forced to put up a fight against Almagro
10 May 2017 - 17:58
Novak Djokovic was made to sweat by Nicolas Almagro in the first match of his Madrid Open defence but eventually overcame the Spaniard 6-1 4-6, 7-5 on Wednesday to reach the third round.
Almagro, ranked 76, broke Djokovic in the opening game but the world number two came back with a vengeance to win six consecutive games, finishing the last with a tidy drop shot.
The Spaniard, who has never gone beyond the quarter-finals in a grand slam, grew in confidence in the second set, however, with the backing of the home support on the Manolo Santana court and saved two break points before forcing a decider.
An upset looked on the cards when Almagro broke Djokovic at the first attempt in the third set and marched into a 3-0 lead but the Serb drew on his experience to battle back, breaking the 31-year-old twice before serving out for the match.
The Serbian, who recently split from his long-term coach Marian Vajda, is on a quest to regain his best form again ahead of the French Open.
Later on Wednesday crowd favourite and four-time winner Rafael Nadal enters the tournament to face Italy's Fabio Fognini.