5/8/12 11:52 PM | Ricky Dimon
Novak Djokovic needs three sets to get past qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Tuesday in Madrid. Djokovic awaits either Stanislas Wawrinka or Jurgen Melzer.
Novak Djokovic's title defense at the Mutua Madrid Open did not begin exactly as planned, but at least it's still going. Djokovic survived Spanish qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 during second-round action on Tuesday evening.
The world No. 1 began comfortably enough, breaking twice and winning 12 of 13 first-serve points in the opening set. He held serve at love in three of his four service games while saving two break points in the other.
Gimeno-Traver was not about to end his stellar week without a fight. The world No. 137 caught fire in the second set as Djokovic's level dipped considerably. Gimeno-Traver earned two scalps of his opponent's serve and fought off both of the break points he faced before closing it out on serve at 5-2.
Djokovic righted the ship in the decider. A break midway through the set was easily enough because the top seed finally started to take care of business on serve with no kind of drama. Djokovic surrendered a mere four points in five service games as he comfortable served out the proceedings at 5-4, finishing the match in one hour and 46 minutes.
Gimeno-Traver wrapped up his commendable effort with seven aces and no double-faults. Djokovic, who will be looking to pick up the pace against either Stanislas Wawrinka or Jurgen Melzer on Thursday, also struck seven aces compared to four double-faults.
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