Djokovic dreading early meeting with Del Potro

By Sacha Pisani 13 March 2017
Djokovic dreading early meeting with Del Potro

Defending champion Novak Djokovic admitted his upcoming third-round clash with Juan Martin del Potro is definitely not the draw he wanted at the BNP Paribas Open.

Djokovic maintained his quest for an Indian Wells four-peat after seeing off Kyle Edmund 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in the second round on Sunday.

Seeded second for the ATP 1000 tournament, former world number one Djokovic was not at his optimum best but still prevailed against the spirited Englishman.

It does not get any easier for Djokovic, who will meet 2009 US Open champion and 31st seed Del Potro on Tuesday, with the pair having traded hard-fought wins recently.

Del Potro eliminated Djokovic at the Rio Olympic Games last year, while the 12-time grand-slam champion hit back in Acapulco last month.

"I don't have the luxury of pacing myself," said Djokovic. "I'm playing del Potro now.

"I have to give it all. That's what it takes to beat this guy.

"Definitely not the draw that you like early in the tournament and that you wish for, but it is what it is.

"I have played him in Acapulco. Very close match. It went down to the last couple of points. I don't expect anything less than that. Very even match, and I've got to give it all."

Djokovic - who improved his record to 10-2 in 2017 - needed almost two hours to beat Edmund on the weekend.

The world number two looked in control in the opening set but Edmund came storming back to take control of the second until Djokovic showed his experience to force a tie-break and triumph.

"I think I played very well in the first set," said Djokovic. "Second set was obviously up and down. But credit to Kyle for playing some really aggressive tennis and taking it all out. He made a lot of winners in the beginning and midway through the second.

"There was not much wrong I did. I did miss some forehands. But other than that, it was a very solid match. Good, quality tennis, a good test. I'm just pleased with the overall performance."

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Sacha Pisani

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