Novak Djokovic admits he was not at his best as he overcame a slow start against Grigor Dimitrov to maintain his unbeaten record in 2013 and advance to the last 16 of the BNP Paribas Open.
The world number one went into the first ATP Masters 1000 event of the season at Indian Wells in stunning form and entirely dominant in the online tennis betting odds with Titan Bet. He began the year by winning a third successive Australian Open before lifting the 36th title of his career at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Djokovic dropped a set in his victory over Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the second round and he carried that indifferent form into Tuesday’s tie with Dimitrov.
The Bulgarian stormed into a 4-1 lead and had the opportunity to serve for the opening set at 5-3. However, disaster struck for the 21-year-old as he threw the chance away with four double-faults.
Djokovic exploited the weakness shown by Dimitrov to take control of the match, eventually winning 7-6 (7-4) 6-1. The six-time Grand Slam champion was pleased to get through a scrappy match unscathed.
“It was not really a beautiful match to watch. There were a lot of unforced errors and we both looked quite sluggish on the court, very slow,” Djokovic said.
“In these kinds of matches, where both of us don’t feel so dynamic on the court, I knew that experience would kick in and can be decisive. That’s actually what happened.”
The victory over Dimitrov extended Djokovic’s unbeaten run to 20 matches. He has not tasted defeat since he was shocked by Sam Querrey in the second round of the Paris Masters in October.
The Serbian will be determined to set the record straight when he faces the American, who progressed with a three-set win over Marinko Matosevic, in the fourth round.