Djokovic Survives Scare to Start New Era

Djokovic survives scare to make winning start to life without old coaching team

Borna Coric downed Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5 6-4 to set up a third-round match against world number one Andy Murray, but Marin Cilic went down to Alexander Zverev and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pulled out due to injury.

Nadal broke his opponent's serve for the first time in the third game of the second set, before saving four break points in the fourth to move into a comfortable lead.

"One break was enough, 5-4, 6-5, both sets", Djokovic said in his post-match interview.

In yesterday's Madrid action, Murray secured his place in the third round with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Marius Copil.

Mladenovic made it to her fourth final of the year_ and second consecutive _ by defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russian Federation 6-4, 7-6 (4). How Dimitrov would then rue yet more missed chances, only he would know, but he took a 6-3 lead, three match points, only to face some of Thiem's best serving, 6-6.

David Goffin is also through to the last eight after defeating world No. 6 Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-2.

Novak Djokovic shrugged off splitting with his long-term coaching staff earlier this week to beat Nicolas Almagro at the Madrid Open.

However, a mixture of Almagro nerves and Djokovic upping his intensity saw the world number two react immediately to level at 3-3.

Kei Nishikori recovered from a terrible start to beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman 1-6, 6-0, 6-4 and faces David Ferrer next.

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Last year John Isner, the American tennis player who is a self-confessed "diehard fan" of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), described Novak Djokovic as the "excellence of execution" in his tribute to the 2016 WrestleMania on The Players' Tribune website.

"Ninety-nine percent of players would accept to have the type of slump Djokovic has had", Nadal said. "I can take a lot of positives from today".

"Goffin and I played at a really high level", said Nadal, still undefeated this year on clay.

He could meet Nadal in the semi-finals.

In the sixth game, Djokovic drilled a deep return rattling an error to earn the first break point 20 minutes into the match. "Obviously he didn't play very good today".

He's won ten straight, lost just one set in that time and now has an all-time record of 51 claycourt titles, which may well become 52 by week's end.

Number three seed, Simona Halep is into the quarter-finals after her 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory over 16 seed Samantha Stosur and she will be joined there by Rumanian wild-card, Sorana Cirstea and Kiki Bertens.

In the women's draw, Eugenie Bouchard of Canada advanced to the quarterfinals after top-seeded Angelique Kerber retired with a left thigh injury in the second set.

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