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By Chris Oddo | Thursday May 18, 2017

Is the real Novak Djokovic finally making his way to fore? Only time will tell, but on Thursday in Rome the Serb looked more like his old, Grand Slam winning self than he has in a while—perhaps all season.

Djokovic edged Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-4, 6-4, to book a quarterfinal clash with Juan Martin del Potro at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The Serb slips into the quarterfinals at the Foro Italico for the 11th consecutive year with the win.

“I feel like today's match was one of the better ones that I have played this clay-court season, but also in the past couple of months,” Djokovic said, according to “It came at the right time, of course. All the players are aiming to raise their level of tennis as we're approaching Paris, but especially here in Rome at one of the biggest and best tournaments in the world.”

Four-time Rome champion Djokovic improves to 18-5 on the season and 6-2 on clay. Bautista Agut falls to 0-10 lifetime against the Top 10 on clay.

Djokovic drew first blood with a break for 4-3 in the opening set. He played a perfect reactionary lob to send Bautista Agut to the baseline then finished him off at the net.

He would hold in his next two service games without complications to take the opener.

Djokovic broke in the third game of the second set and consolidated, but was quickly broken back by Bautista Agut, who then held to move ahead 4-3 in set two. But Djokovic reeled off the final three games to book his spot in the quarters in one hour and 41 minutes.


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