© Hiroshi Sato

Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares won eight of the last nine points in their first-round win over Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic in Tokyo.

Pavic/Soares Oust Djokovic/Krajinovic In Tokyo

Inglot/Krajicek advance on Monday

Novak Djokovic made his Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships debut on Monday at Ariake Tennis Park — on the doubles court — but it did not go according to plan.

Croat Mate Pavic and Brazilian Bruno Soares, the fourth seeds, advanced to the second round in Tokyo with a 6-2, 4-6, 10-4 victory against Djokovic and his fellow Serbian, Filip Krajinovic. Soares captured the title at this ATP 500 event seven years ago alongside Austrian Alexander Peya.

It was an impressive effort by Djokovic and Krajinovic to rally for a Match Tie-break, though. The Serbians capitalised on both break points they earned in the second set to force a decider, but it was not enough.

In the finale, Pavic and Soares caught fire on their return of serve, winning five of seven points on their opponents’ serves. They are seeking their first championship crown as a team.

Pavic and Soares will next face Brit Dominic Inglot and American Austin Krajicek, who defeated the sixth-placed team in the ATP Doubles Team Race To London, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, 6-1, 6-3.

Inglot and Krajicek have captured ATP Tour titles this season in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Atlanta, and they were not broken against the Dutch-Romanian tandem. Inglot and Krajicek won 78 per cent of their first-serve points en route to their 56-minute victory.

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At the China Open in Beijing, Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski prevailed 6-4, 7-6(6) in their opening-round match against Argentines Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman. Pella/Schwartzman served for the second set at 5-4, but Murray/Skupski rallied to advance in one hour and 35 minutes.

Did You Know?
Djokovic has captured one ATP Tour doubles title, triumphing at Queen’s Club in 2010 alongside Jonathan Erlich.

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