Ruud held at love to start the match while Djokovic’s opening service game lasted over 10 minutes and saw the Norwegian break serve on this third opportunity en route to a 3-0 lead.
Djokovic struck back in game seven, breaking Ruud on a netted overhead from the No.4 seed (Djokovic had missed two of his own earlier in the match) to narrow his deficit to 3-4.
The Serb had to save a break point in the following game before holding to level the contest at 4-4.
Ruud stopped the bleeding after losing three games in a row, saving a break point before inching ahead 5-4.
After 73 minutes of play, the opening set fittingly went to a tiebreak, which Djokovic immediately started with a minibreak, thanks to a killer forehand winner on the run. He conceded just one point in the breaker to take a one-set lead in one hour and 21 minutes.