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Novak returns with a victory

Rome: Novak Djokovic enjoyed a comfortable return from a wrist injury by beating Radek Stepanek 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday at the Italian Open where Roger Federer will return to action after his wife gave birth to twins.

Federer, who plays his opening match on Wednesday, said he had decided to compete in Rome after talking to his wife, Mirka, who gave birth to their second set of twins last week.

“They all said I should quickly come and play here,” said the world No. 4 Federer, who had been expected to miss Rome after pulling out of last week’s Madrid Open to be present at the birth of his sons. \“So I was, like, ‘OK, if you don’t want me around I’ll go away’.”

Djokovic, the second seed, missed the Madrid Open through injury but appeared in good condition on his return to action. The Serb, watched by new coach Boris Becker, dropped serve three times but was still too strong for his Czech opponent.

The second-round victory after a bye was the first match for the world No. 2 Serb since losing a Monte Carlo semi-final on April 19 to Roger Federer while suffering with his right wrist problem.

Djokovic, a two-time champion at the Foro Italico, was to have played last week in Madrid but held off. The Serb, who is competing in Rome for an eighth straight year, won his 25th match here against five defeats. (Agencies)