Flawless Djokovic stops the rot in Monte Carlo
Novak Djokovic started his clay-court season with a flawless straight-sets victory over compatriot Dusan Lajovic in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters.
The 12-time grand slam champion, with coach Marian Vajda back in his corner after his recent split with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek, eased to a 6-0 6-1 win in only 56 minutes on a glorious Monday in the Principality.
Djokovic looked totally out of sorts when he slumped to shock defeats to Taro Daniel and Benoit Paire in Indian Wells and Miami respectively last month, but stopped the rot in his first match on the red surface this year.
The ninth seed from Serbia lost just three points on serve in the opening set and returned superbly in a commanding display, wrapping up his first success since the Australian Open in January.
Djokovic moved far more freely and was calm and composed throughout, teaching his countryman a lesson to set up a second-round encounter with Borna Coric.
The former world number one, a two-time champion in Monte Carlo, put Lajovic under pressure from the start, a tame forehand into the net putting Djokovic 2-0 up and he had a double break courtesy of an errant backhand from the outsider.
Djokovic did not give Lajovic a sniff of a break and sealed the opening set in only 22 minutes with a sublime forehand winner down the line.
The 93-ranked Lajovic finally got on the board with a hold in his first service game of the second set and Djokovic saved the first break point he faced before taking a 3-1 lead.
Djokovic was in a hurry to get the job done and Lajovic was put out of his misery when he drilled a backhand wide.