Djokovic rolls in Monte Carlo opener

4/17/2018 4:09:22 AM EST

Novak Djokovic got off to a strong start at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters on Monday by obliterating fellow Serbian Dusan Lajovic 6-0, 6-1 in the opening round at Monaco.

Djokovic won 23 of his 28 first-serve points while finishing off the match in 56 minutes.

It was the type of result the ninth-seeded Djokovic was looking for as he seeks to regain his form.

"I thought it was good considering the amount of matches I've played in the last almost 12 months," Djokovic said after the match. "I thought all in all, it was a great start of the tournament."

Djokovic missed six months with an elbow injury before returning to play in January at the Australian Open. He then underwent what he termed a "small surgical intervention" to aid the elbow in early February and struggled through pain during March events at Indian Wells, Calif., and Miami.

He also had former long-time coach Marian Vajda back on scene after a one-year absence.

"It's a fresh start I think for both of us," Djokovic said. "I missed him. I have a feeling that he missed me or tennis or both. He knows me better than any tennis coach I've worked with. He's a friend. He's someone I can share a lot of things with, whether it's professional or private life. He's always there for me.

"He knows me inside out. He knows what I need in order to get to the highest possible level of play. We could not ask for a better start."

Djokovic will face Croatia's Borna Coric in the second round. Coric defeated France's Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-3.

Meanwhile, Japan's Kei Nishikori, who is recovering from a wrist injury, took down 12th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

"It's not great, but first match on clay, I'm expecting a little soreness," Nishikori said afterward. "Hope I get more confidence and do well (at) these five tournaments on clay."

Other seeded players to win were No. 11 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, No. 14 Milos Raonic of Canada and No. 15 Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.

Bautista Agut defeated German Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-3; Raonic outlasted wild card Lucas Catarina of Monaco 3-6, 6-2, 6-3; and Ramos-Vinolas recorded a 6-3, 6-3 victory over American Jared Donaldson.

Also, Russia's Andrey Rublev won a tense 7-6 (7), 2-6, 7-5 decision over Dutchman Robin Haase in 2 hours, 29 minutes. Rublev prevented Haase from recording his 200th career victory.

--Field Level Media