Djokovic eases into Italian Masters QFs

Two-time champion and two-time runner-up Novak Djokovic was an easy third-round victor Thursday at the $3.475 million Italian Masters tennis event.

The world No. 1 superstar, who titled here in 2008 and 2011, topped Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-4 in 60 minutes on the red clay at this French Open tune-up at Foro Italico. Dolgopolov is now 3-21 lifetime against top-10 competition.

"That is exactly what I was looking for in my game," Djokovic said following his Day-5 win.

The reigning Australian Open titlist Djokovic has reached the final in Rome in four of the last five years. He lost to Rafael Nadal in last year's finale after beating his great Spanish rival in the final here the year before.

Up next for last year's French Open runner-up will be Czech slugger Tomas Berdych.

The sixth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych handled tall South African Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-2, while an upset came when rising Frenchman Benoit Paire toppled seventh-seeded former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

This week's big winner will earn $650,000.