Novak Djokovic of Serbia
Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Nicolas Almagro at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, May 12, 2015. Reuters/Tony Gentile

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic came back from one set down to beat Thomaz Bellucci 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinal round of the 2015 Italian Open in Rome. Belluci, who represents the host country, used some powerful serves and a strong forehand to protect his serve and win the first set.

Djokovic, who will meet Kei Nishikori of Japan in the next round, broke the Italian's serve in the fourth game of the second set and that was what the Serbian needed to open up the game and cruise to the victory. Djokovic credited Bellucci in the post-match interviews, saying the Italian fought hard and kept him “off balance” because of his variety of serves.

“My match was high-quality. Thomaz played great from both corners. Tactically he did the right things -- a lot of variety in his serve, mixing it up, not giving me position, hitting the first ball after his serve being aggressive,” Djokovic said via the tournament’s official website. “But also he was patient. The match could have gone either way in the third set but I was hanging on in there waiting for the opportunity and capitalized.”

Nishikori beat Djokovic’s compatriot Victor Troicki 6-4, 6-4 in his Round of 16 match.

Email to contact author.