Novak Djokovic, world number 1 and four times champion of the tournament, made his debut at the Masters 1000 in Rome with a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 victory over Italian Salvatore Caruso, number 87.
The Serbian, who equaled the 286 weeks in command of the world ranking of the American Pete Sampras and who is 24 of the 310 of the Swiss Roger Federer, returned to compete in the brick dust of the Foro Italico after being disqualified in the Open of States United in the round of 16 against the Spanish Pablo Carreño Busta, for giving an involuntary pitch to a linesman.
On a center court without people, Nole needed an hour and 24 minutes to inflict Caruso the second loss in two games, after beating him at Roland Garros 2019.
The Serbian, who would only meet Spanish Rafa Nadal, second seed, in the final, did not concede breaking balls to the Italian and took advantage of the only break in the first set, in the eighth game, to close it 6-3.
Caruso, who knocked out a match ball on Tuesday to overtake American Tennys Sandgren, competed with commitment, but eventually delivered the serve at 1-1 on the scoreboard in the second set after a game that lasted more than eleven minutes.
From that moment, Djokovic imposed his superiority and closed the game with the final 6-2, remaining intractable with the serve and achieving another break in the seventh game.
At the end of the meeting, the Serbian was the protagonist of a curious gesture, as he sent messages of affection to the completely empty stands, as he always does when there are spectators. He also wrote on the camera a “Force Roma, I miss you”, in perfect Italian.