For quite a while, on the highest summit of the ATP ranking,Novak Djokovic kept a safe distance from the rest of his competitors. All of a sudden, with the Serb losing his pace things became interesting. It was Andy Murray who made it possible with his strong game over the past month. His success during the Asian session nearly closed the gap. Now, Djokovic must reach the higher stages in Paris to prevent Murray from stealing his spot. And the Serb champion seems committed as he made his first steps earlier today in Paris.

Djokovic won his opener in straight sets

Being among the seeded players in Paris, Djokovic was granted a bye in the first round.

In the next round, he had to deal with Gilles Muller (34 ATP). The player from Luxembourg came to Paris with some solid results lately, being a semifinalist last week in Basel.

The opening set found Djokovic in a good mood and the Serb made his regular game with strong displays of power on his own serve. It took a while until he broke Muller's service game. From that point on, the defending champion in Paris walked on a familiar road. He took the set in 35 minutes (6-3).

The second act was more balanced, with both players doing well on their own serve. But Djokovic kept his composure and waited for the opportunities to emerge. In the 8th game of the set, he had 2 match points on his opponent`s serve but failed to convert them.

The very next game, he served for the match and made it all the way. Djokovic took the 2nd set in 47 minutes (6-4) and eventually the match.

Djokovic must keep going

If he wants to remain theworld no. 1 then he must reach the final in Paris. In the next round, on the other side will stand Grigor Dimitrov, a highly gifted player (former ATP 8), unfortunately, with a lot of inconsistencies over the years.

With Dimitrov, Djokovic has positive overall stats -- winning 5 of their 6 meetings. The bad news is that they haven't played against each other since mid-2014. It`ll be an interesting clash as Dimitrov lately has found a way to regain his place in the rankings with lots of improvements in his game.

Currently ranked as world no. 18, the 25-year-old Bulgarian will definitely be a hard test for the Serb.

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