Novak Djokovic continued his Italian Open title defence with a 6-3 4-6 6-1 victory over Bulgarian 26th seed Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday while women's champion Iga Swiatek dished out another "bagel" as she defeated Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko.
Djokovic, who will lose his world number one ranking at the end of the Masters 1000 tournament to Carlos Alcaraz, overcame a sluggish start and a late comeback attempt by familiar opponent Dimitrov to get over the line in their third-round meeting.
Both players surrendered serve early in the first set before Djokovic raised his game to pull away for a 4-1 lead, and an 11th victory over Dimitrov in 12 meetings began to look inevitable.
Dimitrov, whose only win over the Serbian world number one came 10 years ago in Madrid, produced a tight hold but could not prevent his opponent from running away with the opening set and grabbing the advantage in the next.
The former world number three did however reel off four straight games from 2-4 to take the second set and force a decider. But Djokovic responded strongly and let out a roar after securing a double break in the third set and held firm this time to advance.
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