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Djokovic battles back in Rome

NOVAK Djokovic began his Rome Masters title defense by smashing a racket during a 7-6, 6-0 win over Spain's Albert Montanes on Tuesday.

With rain disrupting play on numerous occasions throughout the day, Djokovic was kept waiting until 10:30pm before he could even start his second round match. When he got on court, he struggled to get the measure of an enterprising opponent on the heavy clay surface.

Having dropped serve twice in the first set, the Serb hurled his racket to the ground and snapped it into two after he threw away a point with an error in the tiebreak, which he went on to win 7-5.

Once he had taken out his frustration on his racket the world No. 3, who had a bye into round two, regained his composure to dominate the rest of the match and go through to the third round.

In first round action, Spanish 13th-seed Tommy Robredo staged a stirring comeback to beat former world No. 1 Marat Safin 2-6, 7-6, 6-2.

After finally starting the first round match which had been postponed on Monday because of the weather, Safin kept his focus during another lengthy rain suspension in the first set and broke serve twice to seize control.

Safin looked to be heading for victory when he raced into a 4-1 lead in the second but Robredo rallied to 5-5 and then leveled the match in a tiebreak.

The Spaniard kept up the momentum to carry off the deciding set.

In Germany, new world No. 1 Dinara Safina powered into the second round of the Porsche Grand Prix with a 6-0, 6-1 demolition job of Italian Sara Errani on Tuesday.

The Russian needed only 25 minutes to win the first set, pummeling world No. 37 Errani into submission with thundering forehands.

Safina, who captured top spot in the rankings last week, also raced through the second set before clinching a 51-minute victory with an ace.

Fellow countrywoman Elena Dementieva, the second seed, was made to work much harder by German Anna-Lena Groenefeld before advancing 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Dementieva broke serve twice in the first set but her opponent leveled by breaking twice in the second. Groenefeld though ran out of steam in the decider.

In an all-Chinese clash Li Na disposed of Peng Shuai 6-2, 6-3.

Eighth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland scored a comfortable 7-6, 6-0 win over Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak while seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark overcame Czech Iveta Benesova 6-3, 7-5.

Marion Bartoli of France defeated Croatian qualifier Karolina Sprem 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.


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