MONTE CARLO, Principality of Monaco (AFP) – Novak Djokovic was severely tested before securing a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber to survive his opening match at the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.
The winner of the last three Grand Slams made eight double faults, dropped serve four times and smashed a racquet after losing the second set to his German opponent in the second-round encounter.
The world number one was relieved to avoid defeat in his first match of the clay season.
Argentine Guido Pella dealt a second-round blow to seventh seed Marin Cilic, beating the Croatian 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.
Defeat in just over two hours left 2014 US Open winner Cilic with just one win from six matches since January’s Australian Open, where he went out in the fourth round.
Pella, who won his first career match at the event in the first round on Sunday, emerged a winner as he played on the idyllic centre court for the first time.