Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after defeating Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain in the first round of the US 2019 Open Tennis Tournament at USTA National Tennis Center Billie Jean King. Required credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The leading Serbian, who has won four of the last five Grand Slam titles, took time to settle for his first career encounter with Carballes Baena, but after a tight first set, he was put in the running.
"Obviously, it takes a bit of time to feel comfortable on the court," said Djokovic, who beat Juan Martin del Potro in last year's final, in an interview with the tribunal.
"But we move on to something else. Obviously, this is not the first time I'm in the second round, so I know what I have to do. "
Djokovic had a 2-0 break in the second set and never regretted his efforts, as the triple champion used a mix of skillful volley, vigorous movement and good instinct to stay undefeated in 14 first-round matches of his career in New York. .
Carballes Baena quickly took up the challenge as he tried to keep a 1-1 record for 1-1 in a match that lasted nearly 10 minutes.
The Spanish world number 76 continued the fight and was in service at 4-5 in the first set, but Djokovic sent a flip-flop on empty ground to set up a pair of decisive points and converted to his first chance.
Djokovic was never tested during the rest of the match and did not face a break throughout the match.
"It's great to be back," said Djokovic. "I am grateful that at this stage of my life and career I am still in the Grand Slam at a high level.
"Sometimes we have to remember those blessings."
Djokovic will be American Sam Querrey or Argentina's Juan Ignacio Londero.
Reporting by Frank Pingue, edited by Pritha Sarkar and Clare Fallon
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