Novak Djokovic defeats Filip Krajinovic while Britain's Dan Evans also advances in Vienna
Last Updated: 28/10/20 10:48am
Novak Djokovic overcame a slow start, saving a set point, before beating Filip Krajinovic in the all-Serbian first-round tie at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.
Djokovic came through 7-6 (7-6) 6-3 against Krajinovic to set up a meeting with Borna Coric in the second round.
The world No 1 broke for a 3-1 lead but lost the next four games against his regular hitting partner. Krajinovic then missed a set point at 6-5 in the tie-breaker.
Djokovic took advantage to move ahead in the match before going on to wrap up the win thanks to a more solid second set showing.
"I was lucky in the first set... we are good friends, we train a lot (together) and it is never easy to play someone that you are very close to," said Djokovic in an on-court interview.
"He is a very nice guy and I have known him since he was very young. I followed him, I tried to be there as a friend, as a mentor. We go back a long way.
"We practised a few times (together) before coming to Vienna. The draw was tough for us to face each other, but there is always extra pressure and importance to a match when you play someone that you know very well."
The US Open champion Dominic Thiem, a beneficiary of Djokovic's disqualification in New York, also progressed on home soil.
The Austrian was too good for lucky loser Vitaliy Sachko, winning 6-4 7-5.
- Djokovic: Matching Sampras would be dream come true
- Djokovic regrets US and French Open failures
- Gauff: Murray a 'great ally' for raising diversity issues
Dan Evans progressed to the second round after former Great Britain team-mate Aljaz Bedene retired.
Evans was in a strong position, leading 6-3 4-5, when the Slovenian called time on the match after suffering a right thigh injury.
Bedene, who changed allegiance from Slovenia to Britain and then back again, suffered the problem early in the match, but could not continue.
There was not much in it between the two men, with Evans, who made the semi-finals in Antwerp last week, claiming the first set with a solitary break before fending off several break-back points in the next game.
The second set was on serve before Bedene retired at a curious time, having just won a game which would have left Evans serving to stay in the set.
There will be no complaints from British No 1 Evans, who will now play Jurij Rodionov in the second round after the young Austrian stunned Denis Shapovalov.
Grigor Dimitrov defeated Karen Kachanov 7-6 (8-6) 6-3, and Hubert Hurkacz beat Attila Balasz 6-3 7-5.