Madrid — Novak Djokovic staved off a huge upset in his first match since splitting with his long-time coaching team to beat Nicolas Almagro 6-1 4-6 7-5 in the second round of the Madrid Masters on Wednesday.
After a blistering start, Djokovic had to battle back from 3-0 down in the deciding set to book his place in the last 16.
Djokovic is without a coach in the Spanish capital after bringing to an end a 10-year relationship with Marian Vajda in an attempt to reverse his dramatic slump in form over the past year.
But he could have a new coach in place as soon as the French Open that starts in less than a fortnight.
"I’m going to think about who I want in my team," the Serb said on Wednesday.
"Right now I don’t have anyone yet, but I think by the French Open or after the French Open I [am] already going to have someone."
Australian Nick Kyrgios cruised past American Ryan Harrison 6-3 6-3 and will now meet Rafa Nadal who beat Fabio Fognini 7-6(3) 3-6 6-4.
Milos Raonic is also into the last 16 as he got the better of a battle between two big servers, winning 6-4 6-4 against Gilles Muller. Raonic will play Belgium’s David Goffin next.
Kei Nishikori recovered from a dreadful start to beat Diego Schwartzman 1-6 6-0 6-4. Nishikori faces David Ferrer next, who progressed as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga withdrew with a shoulder injury.
Svetlana Kuznetsova is one of only three of the top 10 seeds left in the women’s draw after a 6-4 7-5 win over Wang Qiang to reach the quarterfinals.