Rome, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Two-time champion Novak Djokovic and former runner-up Stan Wawrinka were a pair of straight-set second-round winners Tuesday at the $4 million Italian Masters tennis event.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 star Djokovic, with coach Boris Becker on hand, handled 35-year-old Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-3, 7-5 in 1 hour, 37 minutes at Foro Italico. The Serbian stalwart committed just nine unforced errors, compared to 27 for Stepanek.
Djokovic, who is also a two-time runner-up in Rome. received a bye into the second round and is appearing in his first tournament after being sidelined with a wrist injury for three weeks.
"I expected to be a little bit rusty on the court, but generally it was a good win," Djokovic said. "I'm happy with that and hope to elevate my performance in the next one."
Meanwhile, the third-seeded Australian Open champion Wawrinka, a 2008 runner- up in Rome, waltzed past Spaniard Pere Riba 6-0, 6-3. Wawrinka captured his first-ever Masters shield by titling on clay in Monte Carlo last month.
Also in the second round, German Philipp Kohlschreiber upended 16th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-4.
In opening-round action on Day 3, 36-year-old 15th-seeded German Tommy Haas held off Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
Also in round one, Russian Dmitry Tursunov topped Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-0, 7-6 (7-4); South African Kevin Anderson dismissed Canadian Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 7-6 (7-4); Latvian Ernests Gulbis doused Colombian lucky loser Alejandro Falla 6-1, retired; Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev bested Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-5; Croat Marin Cilic took care of Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 2-0, retired; and Dutchman Igor Sijsling defeated 21-year-old Italian wild card Marco Cecchinato, making his ATP debut, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 at this clay court French Open tune-up.