In this photo provided Thursday, May 16, 2013 by the Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis is greeted by Argentine tennis player Juan Martin del Potro, who gave him his tennis racket, at the end of the pontiff's general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)The Associated Press
Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Spain's Albert Montanes during their match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Djokovic won 6-2, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)The Associated Press
ROME – Top-ranked Novak Djokovic improved his clay-court record this season to 8-1 and reached the Italian Open quarterfinals by beating Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-4 Thursday.
The only danger Djokovic faced came while serving at 3-2 in the second set. He saved two break points — one with a big serve down the middle and the other with some crisp shot-making that forced Dolgopolov to net a backhand.
The start of the match was delayed for about 30 minutes because of rain.
Djokovic, who opened his clay season by winning the Monte Carlo Masters last month, will next face either sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych or Kevin Anderson of South Africa.