Italian Open 2020: Novak Djokovic eases past Italian Salvatore Caruso in straight sets to reach third round
Djokovic will next play either fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic or Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato for a place in the quarter-finals.
Rome: Novak Djokovic got off to a winning start at the Italian Open on Wednesday, advancing to the third round of the clay-court tournament in his first match since his US Open disqualification earlier this month.
The world number one, the recipient of a first round bye in Rome, eased past Italian wild card entry Salvatore Caruso 6-3, 6-2 at the Foro Italico.
Four-time Rome winner Djokovic will next play either fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic or Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato for a place in the quarter-finals.
Djokovic was unbeaten in 2020 before his dramatic last 16 default in New York on September 6 after he accidently struck a line judge with a ball hit in frustration.
Nine-time Rome winner Rafael Nadal will make his return to competition later on Wednesday after a six-month hiatus linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number two seed plays fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno, a recent semi-finalist of the US Open, for a place in the third round.
Sixth seeded Belgian David Goffin lost his second round match 6-2, 6-2 to Croatia's Marin Cilic in the final tune-up for the French Open in Roland Garros from September 27.
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Italian Open 2020: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal enter quarter-final; Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova also through to last eight
Nadal proved too strong for 25th-ranked Lajovic, who had valiantly but vainly launched a fightback after trailing 4-0 in the second set to the Spaniard.
Exactly two weeks after he was defaulted from the US Open, and a day after he was warned by the chair umpire for breaking his racket, Djokovic received an obscenity warning midway through a win over Casper Ruud.
Italian Open 2020: Simona Halep extends winning streak to 11 matches; Novak Djokovic beats Filip Krajinovic
Halep, who is actually on an 11-0 run overall stretching back to February, recovered an early break in the opening set and then overpowered her 29th-ranked opponent the rest of the way.