Indian Wells: Novak Djokovic shook off a mid-match lapse to beat Alejandro Gonzalez on Tuesday and set up a clash with Croatian Marin Cilic at the Indian Wells hardcourt tennis tournament.
Novak Djokovic lunges to return a forehand to Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia during their third round clash at Indian Wells. Pic/AFP
Djokovic, the world number two and second seed, defeated world number 91 Gonzalez 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, but said he’ll have to play much better in the fourth round against Cilic.
"I thought I played really well from the start," said Djokovic, who lifted the trophy in the California desert in 2008 and 2011. "Then suddenly I just had a big loss of concentration and allowed him to win the second set for no reason."
Djokovic appeared to be cruising toward a win until a sloppy spell late in the second set saw Gonzalez break for a 5-3 lead and win the next game to bring the match level.
Djokovic regained control with a demoralizing break in the second game of the third set, in which Gonzalez had nine game points before the Serbian star converted his first break chance.
"In the end of the day, a win is a win," Djokovic said. "I have to try to look on the positive side and get myself ready for the next one."
Djokovic, 26, is seeking to jump-start a 2014 campaign that is off to a slow start.
His bid for a fourth straight Australian Open title ended in a quarter-final loss to eventual champion Stanislas Wawrinka, and he fell to Roger Federer in the semi-finals at Dubai.
He knows Cilic, who beat 16th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3, will be a dangerous opponent. Cilic, has lost only once in his last 17 matches, to Tomas Berdych in the final at Rotterdam.
Jelena Jankovic reached the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells tournament on Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Caroline Wozniacki in a battle of former champions. In a rematch of the 2010 final where Jankovic prevailed, the Serb showed no sign of the back trouble that bothered her during her third-round win.