Former world number one Novak Djokovic strolled into the second round of the Italian Open on Monday with a morale-boosting 6-1 6-3 victory over Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Coming on the heels of a second round exit to Kyle Edmund last week in Madrid, Djokovic's win on Monday was just his fourth on clay this season and his seventh on any surface.
"Rome has always been a place where I felt good, where I received a lot of support, where I played well, and had a lot of great results", said Djokovic.
"It wasn't easy match".
Djokovic has struggled to recover since his return from a six-month lay-off over a long-standing wrist injury, but could enjoy a good run in the Italian capital thanks to a favourable draw with Nikoloz Basilashvili or Filippo Baldi waiting in the second round.
And the 30-year-old said his focus was on the French Open where he won his last Grand Slam title in 2016.
"The first set could have gone both ways, luckily I got it and after that I was more confident".
"I don't have yet 100 per cent clarity in terms of what the future will look like but I'm getting there. And I feel more comfortable on the court".
"I feel more comfortable on the court, more comfortable with my team, that's where I've made many changes over the last 12 months and that hasn't really brought a sense of comfort and peace to me because I always had to think, 'Who's going to be next to me?"
Kei Nishikori edged by Feliciano Lopez in straight 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Nishikori, runner-up to Rafael Nadal on clay in Monte Carlo, next meets third seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.
In the women's tournament, former U.S. Open finalist Roberta Vinci bid her fans an emotional farewell following the final match of her career.
The 35-year-old reached the US Open final in 2010 and won ten singles title in her career spanning almost two decades.
Nishikori took a one-set lead after a tiebreak.
Spanish 10th-seed Pablo Carreno Busta was made to sweat as American Jared Donaldson forced the three-time victor on tour to a deciding set before easing over the finishing line for a 6-4 3-6 6-0 success. Kohlschreiber came from behind to win the first set, but passed up on an opportunity to serve out the match in the second, allowing the Russian to force the decider.
Naomi Osaka, who claimed her first WTA title at Indian Wells in March, eliminated former No. 1 Victoria Azaranka 6-0, 6-3.
David Goffin, seeded ninth, made short shrift of the challenge from Leonardo Mayer as the Belgian raced to a 6-1 6-2 against the Argentinean and will next face Marco Cecchinato, after the Italian wildcard recorded a three-set comeback victory against Pablo Cuevas.
Also, Madison Keys beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1; Johanna Konta defeated Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-3; and Petra Martic beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-2 and will next face defending champion Elina Svitolina.