The six-time defending champion next plays Russia’s Karen Khachanov or Swiss Marc-Andrea Hausler.
The winner of 21 major titles seeks to lift the fourth cup this year and the second in the Masters after the Rome tournament.
The former world number one holds the record for the Masters titles (38), two ahead of Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who also competes in Paris-Bercy.
Djokovic struggled in his first match against the American, ranked 34th in the world, who has a strong and fast serve, and every player managed to maintain his service game in the first set before the Serb dominated the tie-breaker.
Each player also maintained his serve in the second until “Djoker” managed to break the deadlock on the ninth before resolving matters in his favor on the tenth.
After the win, Djokovic said: “To say that his serve is too strong doesn’t do him justice. I can say that I have never faced a player who serves like that on the second serve. It was easier for me to return the first serve than the second.”
“But it’s nice to see a player playing ‘Surf and Foley’ (where the player steps into the net right after he sends), reminds us of the 80s.”
The Serbian made only 5 direct mistakes in the match compared to 22 for his opponent, knowing that the American hit 36 successful kicks against 19 for Novak.
Djokovic won the title in Paris in 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019 and 2021.
Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz overcame French wildcard Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, his compatriot Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round.
The other Spaniard, Roberto Bautista-Agot, was knocked out by American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4, while Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Italian Fabio Fognini reached the second round at the expense of Dutchman Botique van de Chandeskolp 7-6 (7-5), 7- 6 (7-5) and Frenchman Arthur Wess 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-2 respectively.
In the first round, Britain’s Jack Draper beat French wildcard Arthur Renderknich 6-3, 6-4, and his compatriot Daniel Evans defeated American Brandon Nakashima 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, and the other Frenchman, Corintan Mutier, defeated Croatian Borna Coric 3-6 6-3 and 6-4.
In the next round, Draper will play with the American Francis Tiafoe, the sixteenth, and Evans with the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the third, and Mute, the qualifier, with the other British Cameron Norrie, the twelfth.
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