ATP Monte Carlo Masters: Novak Djokovic beats Mikhail Younzhny in three sets
Novak Djokovic survived a sluggish start and a final set wobble to take his place in round three in Monte Carlo.
Last Updated: 17/04/13 7:21pm
The top-seeded Serb overcame the dogged challenge of Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, and concerns over his injured ankle, to emerge a 4-6 6-1 6-4 victor on Wednesday.
Having rolled his ankle while on Davis Cup duty ten days ago, there were fears Djokovic would miss the Masters 1000 event altogether, but he fronted up and passed a demanding test to secure his spot in the last 16.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the World No 1 started rather gingerly and found himself 4-0 down as Youzhny took charge and, although he forced his way back into things, he was unable to prevent his rival from taking the opening set.
But the Serb went through the gears to secure the second with something to spare and looked to have put the contest to bed as he moved a break clear in the decider.
However, Youzhny demonstrated real spirit to break back and actually lead 4-3 before Djokovic responded again, upping his intensity to reel off three successive games as he closed out a hard-fought victory.
"I think that my ankle is in a good state as the days are passing by," said the winner. "Today was a big test, I had a great quality opponent. I'm very happy to win, I'm just happy to compete, to be honest. I didn't know if I'm going to be playing the tournament up to yesterday (Tuesday) basically."
Djokovic will next face Juan Monaco after the Argentine beat Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in three sets in what proved a highly-charged affair.
After the first two sets had been shared, Gulbis was penalised first a point and then an entire game after kicking a ball and twice smashing his racket and it was to end up costing him as Monaco prevailed 6-0 3-6 6-3.
Elsewhere, fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych saw off Marcel Granollers in straight sets, 7-5 6-4, to set up a third round clash with Italy's Fabio Fognini who beat Albert Ramos 6-3 7-5.
The 12th seed Milos Raonic saw his campaign come to an end as Finland's Jarkko Nieminen prevailed in a final-set tie-break, while Croatia's Marin Cilic advanced after a comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over South Africa's Kevin Anderson.