Djokovic's quest for four-peat lives on after outlasting Edmund

By Sacha Pisani 13 March 2017 100
Djokovic's quest for four-peat lives on after outlasting Edmund

World number two Novak Djokovic remains on track for a fourth successive BNP Paribas Open title after overcoming Kyle Edmund to reach the third round.

Three-time defending champion Djokovic was made to work by the spirited and talented Brit but the second seed's experience shone through when needed as he prevailed 6-4 7-6 (7-5) at Indian Wells on Sunday.

Struggling for form and consistency since his stunning second-round exit at the Australian Open in January, former world number one Djokovic was far from his best but closed out the match in a tie-break as Edmund fired a forehand long after almost two hours on court.

The highest-ranked player in the men's draw following Andy Murray's loss on Saturday, Djokovic - who improved to 10-2 for the year - will next face Juan Martin del Potro for a place in the fourth round.

Boasting a 2-0 head-to-head record, Djokovic stormed out of the blocks as he broke to 30 and consolidated for a 2-0 lead.

Djokovic provided flashes of his brilliance from the baseline with his defensive game on show, working Edmund around the court.

And the Serbian star did not relinquish the break as his impenetrable serve saw him claim the opening set without facing a break point.

It was a completely different story in the second set as Djokovic's serve dropped and Edmund raised his game.

Djokovic's decline was almost unstoppable, with Edmund's aggressive approach and forehands causing all kinds of problems for the 12-time grand-slam champion, who was broken in the second game.

Down 3-0, Djokovic's frustration was clear to see as he struggled to cope, with his range and forehand slightly off.

Djokovic did produce an important hold of serve in the fourth game as he broke back the very next game, but Edmund reclaimed the break and a 4-2 lead.

Edmund showed no signs of nerves but he allowed Djokovic back into the contest in the ninth game and the five-time Indian Wells champion did not look back, despite surrendering a 3-0 lead in the tie-break.

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Sacha Pisani