ROME, Italy -- No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut on Thursday.
Djokovic, who has struggled since winning Roland Garros in 2016, where he completed his career Grand Slam, is slowly finding his groove back. His 2017 season, which started with a win over No. 1 Andy Murray for the Doha title in January, had been subpar before reaching the semis of Madrid Open last week. He suffered an upset in the second round of the Australian Open by No. 117 Denis Istomin. In March, Djokovic lost to Nick Kyrgios twice-- in the quarterfinal of Mexico Open and in Indian Wells fourth round. He withdrew in Miami with an elbow injury. He lost to David Goffin in Monte Carlo quarterfinals, and to Rafael Nadal in the semis of Madrid Open.
"I'm getting closer," said Djokovic about his current form. "I feel like today's match was one of the better ones that I have played on clay court season but also overall last couple of months.
"So it came in the right time, of course, because, you know, we are getting to now the final 8 of this tournament and also getting closer to Roland Garros.
"So of course all the players are aiming to raise their level of tennis as we're approaching Paris, as well, of course, but especially here where we are at the moment at one of the best tournaments and biggest in the world.
"So of course I would love to be able to continue playing on that level and even higher as the tournament progresses, said Djokovic.
Djokovic awaits the winner of Juan Martin del Potro and Kei Nishikori.
In other men's matches, John Isner stunned No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka in straight sets 7-6(1) 6-4. Next up for Marin Cilic, who defeated in-form David Goffin 6-3, 6-4.
Next Gen star Alexander Zverev advanced with 6-3, 6-3 win over Italian star Fabio Fognini, who upset top seed Andy Murray in the second round. The 20-year-old next plays Isner is No. 5 seed Milos Rionic, who took out Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-2.
WATCH THE ACTION UNFOLD ON THE ROAD TO ROLAND GARROS ON TENNIS CHANNEL HERE.
Then starting May 22, watch Roland Garros on Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus by downloading our Tennis Channel Everywhere App.