Malaga's Alejandro Davidovich will face Novak Djokovic for the first time in his career in the last 16 of the Masters 1000 tournament in Rome on Thursday. Davidovich progressed to play the world number one after beating Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-3 in the previous round on Wednesday.
Davidovich enjoyed an easier day than expected against Norrie, running out victorious after just one hour and 18 minutes. Playing on Court 4 in the morning due to a congested schedule, the Spaniard quickly raced into a 3-0 lead.
The first set featured one amusing moment when Davidovich knocked over his opponent’s equipment while successfully saving a point.
Although Norrie improved in the second set, Davidovich ultimately proved to be too strong for him.
Now, he will go toe to toe against the Serbian star in front of a 25 per cent capacity crowd at Foro Italico. Despite never having eachother professionally before, they know eachother well, having previously trained together in Marbella and Davidovich considers the duo to be friends.
This may not be the worst time to face Djokovic given his form has dipped below his usual high standards in recent weeks. Coming into the tournament, he was knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters in the round of 16 by Englishman Dan Evans before exiting the Belgrade Open in the semi-finals against Aslan Karatsev. In his round-of-32 encounter against Taylor Fritz in Rome, he was taken to a tie break in the second set before eventually winning 6-3, 7-6.
Having reached the semi-finals of the Estoril Open, the quarter-finals in Madrid and at least the round of 16 in Rome, Davidovich has certainly been in good form of late. In fact, he is now in the top 30 in the ATP Race, a ranking system calculated by performance this calendar year alone.