Novak Djokovic showed little sign of being affected by his US Open default as he bounced back to defeat Salvatore Caruso at the Internazionali d’Italia.
Top seed Djokovic had not played since he was disqualified at Flushing Meadows earlier this month after hitting a line judge with the ball in the fourth round against Pablo Carreno Busta, his first defeat of the season.
But he returned to action in typically composed fashion in Italy, dispatching world number 87 Caruso 6-3 6-2.
Djokovic, who received a bye for round one, took just 84 minutes to claim the victory and will face Mario Cecchinato or Filip Krajinovic in the last 16.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 16, 2020
The four-time Rome champion did not face a single break point throughout Wednesday’s encounter, converting three of the eight Caruso offered up.
Having clinched the opening set at the second time of asking, Djokovic crucially nosed himself ahead in the second when he broke Caruso in the third game.
At one point during the 11-minute game, Djokovic complained about noise from the mainly empty stands. While fans are not allowed, coaches and tournament officials were in attendance.
“Which one?” the umpire replied, to which a frustrated Djokovic responded: “Which one? There’s 10 people in the stands.”
However, unlike in New York, Djokovic this time kept a lid on his temper and had the match all but won when he broke the Italian again to make it 5-2, the world number one then duly wrapping up victory with his first match point.