Djokovic keen for more matches as Nishikori rediscovers winning feeling
Novak Djokovic eased into the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia on Monday with a straight-sets win over Alexandr Dolgopolov, as David Goffin and Kei Nishikori also won.
Djokovic's struggles for form continued in Madrid last week as he beat Nishikori only to then fall at the second hurdle to Kyle Edmund.
But the 12-time grand slam singles champion made short work of Dolgopolov, producing an impressive performance with the French Open on the horizon next week.
Ninth seed Goffin and world number 19 Edmund were also among the winners in the opening round on clay in Rome as players search for form ahead of Roland Garros.
DJOKOVIC HOPEFUL FOR MORE MATCHES
Four-time champion Djokovic needed just 56 minutes to see off Dolgopolov 6-1 6-3 and is hopeful for more time on court in the Italian capital this week.
"It was a great start. I always feel very comfortable in Rome. I think the conditions are quite suitable to my game," Djokovic said. "I always look forward to coming back to Rome.
"The last three, four weeks have been better on the practice courts and in matches. Today's match encourages me to move forward and hopefully I can get a few more matches in Rome than I have in the last couple months."
NISHIKORI SET FOR DIMITROV DUEL
After withdrawing from his opening match in Barcelona and then losing to Djokovic in Madrid, Kei Nishikori rediscovered the winning feeling.
He was far from convincing against Feliciano Lopez, but did enough to claim a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory and set up an enticing encounter with Grigor Dimitrov.
Ninth seed David Goffin was far more comfortable in his 6-1 6-2 defeat of Leonardo Mayer. He will now play Marco Cecchinato, a winner over Pablo Cuevas.
Wildcard Matteo Berrettini defeated Frances Tiafoe in straight sets and will now play Madrid winner Alexander Zverev, while 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta needed three sets to see off Jared Donaldson.
THIEM NEXT FOR FOGNINI AFTER 300TH WIN
Fabio Fognini celebrated a milestone on home clay, a 6-3 6-1 victory over Gael Monfils his 300th at ATP level.
Dominic Thiem, the man who ended Rafael Nadal's record-breaking run of 50 successive sets won on clay last week in Madrid is next for the Italian.
Edmund's first match as a top-20 player saw him pushed to three sets by Malek Jaziri, and Benoit Paire triumphed in an all-French clash with Richard Gasquet.
Elsewhere in the draw, there were wins for Aljaz Bedene, Robin Haase, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Albert Ramos-Vinolas.