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  • Djokovic survives Youzhny, wins Monte-Carlo opener

    4/17/13 4:37 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Djokovic survives Youzhny, wins Monte-Carlo opener Novak Djokovic gets off to a slow start but overcomes Mikhail Youzhny on Wednesday in Monte-Carlo. Djokovic awaits either Juan Monaco or Ernests Gulbis in the third round.

    For a moment it looked like the world No. 1's ankle would not hold up and he would have a brief stay at what has become his hometown tournament. But Novak Djokovic had other ideas.

    Djokovic rebounded from a rough start to defeat Mikhail Youzhny 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Wednesday afternoon. The 2012 runner-up broke serve five times to advance in two hours and 15 minutes.

    Playing less than two weeks after sustaining an ankle injury during Davis Cup action, Djokovic struggled to find his footing in the early stages of this match. In fact, he did not even get on the scoreboard a single time in the first four games of the match. Djokovic finally held for 1-4 and even broke back once for 3-5, but Youzhny delivered a clutch hold at 5-4 to finish the set.

    The tide turned emphatically in the second, with Djokovic rolling through five consecutive games to take it. The top-seeded Serb missed two break chances at 1-0 but had no trouble seizing full control just a few minutes later.

    That set the stage for an entertaining decider, in which Djokovic broke right away en route to a seemingly commanding 2-0 lead. Youzhny, however, was not about to end his upset bid without a fight. The 27th-ranked Russian broke back in the sixth game thanks to a flurry of errors by his opponent before surviving the best game of the tournament at 3-3, during which he battled out of four deuces and three break points.

    In the end, however, Youzhny could not sustain the level necessary to finish off what would have been an incredible win. A tough hold brought Djokovic to 4-4 and he earned one more scalp of the Youzhny serve when the underdog netted a backhand drop-shot on break point. Djokovic wrapped up the proceedings one game later with a routine hold.

    Next up for the six-time Grand Slam champion is either Juan Monaco or Ernests Gulbis.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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