The Italian was no match for world No 1 Djokovic when they met in the second round in Monte Carlo.
He was looking to become just the third teenager to beat Djokovic at an ATP event and was offered a glimmer of hope when he broke in the third set.
But that seemed to trigger the Serbian 18-time Grand Slam winner into action and he got his clay campaign underway with a 6-4 6-2 victory.
“It feels great, also playing here in Monaco where I reside,” Djokovic said.
“It was a great first match for me. Jannik is in form, he played the finals of Miami and has been playing well.
“I just hung in there today and found the right shots at the right time.”
Djokovic was expected to have a much tougher run battle against one of the most promising players on the tour.
He has been drawn in the opposite half of the tournament to early favourite Nadal, who is an 11-time champion in Monaco.
This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed