Djokovic Wins In First Match Since Wimbledon Title
Not today, Sam!
The last time World No. 1 Novak Djokovic played Sam Querrey, the American stunned the Serbian in the third round of Wimbledon three years ago. But despite getting off to a slow start Tuesday at the Western & Southern Open and having his serve tested throughout the match, Djokovic battled past Querrey 7-5, 6-1 to reach the third round in Cincinnati.
This is Djokovic’s first tournament since saving two championship points in the Wimbledon final en route to claiming his fifth title at The Championships. Mason, Ohio, holds good memories for the Serbian, who completed his Career Golden Masters at this event last season.
Djokovic was broken in the first game of the match and he saved two break points in each of his first two service games in the second set, but the 32-year-old clenched his teeth and waited for his opportunities, advancing after one hour and 18 minutes.
“The fact that I’m a reigning champion wasn’t affecting me positively or negatively. There was just excitement to be back on the court competing because it’s been quite awhile since the Wimbledon final,” said Djokovic. “But at the same time, I had the nervous start because I haven’t played a match in four weeks. It took a while to adjust to his big game. I made three double faults in the opening game and didn’t have the greatest of starts.
“It was a tricky match, a quality and opponent and a big challenge, but I’m happy to be tested right from the start. Hopefully the next performance will be even better.”
Querrey used his footwork well to cut off any angles Djokovic tried to use, stepping into the court and blasting away to try to keep the top seed on the back foot. But once Djokovic went into his trademark 'lockdown mode' from the baseline, the big-serving Querrey struggled for service points, even on his first serve.
The American entered the week in second place on the ATP Tour over the past 52 weeks by winning 82.2 per cent of his first-serve points. But Querrey managed to win just 63 per cent of points on his first delivery against Djokovic. The 33-time ATP Masters 1000 champion broke serve four times in his victory.
Djokovic has reached the final in three of his past four tournaments. And this week, he will try to wrestle back the lead in the ATP Race To London from Rafael Nadal, who took the lead in the battle for the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking by capturing his fifth Canadian ATP Masters 1000 title last week at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal.
The defending champion will next play Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, who saved a match point and beat No. 13 seed John Isner 6-4, 6-7(1), 7-6(6) in two hours, 34 minutes. The match finished at 1:15 a.m. local time.
Carreno Busta erased a match point at 5/6 in the third-set tie-break when Isner netted a backhand. The American served to stay in the match at 6/7 but lifted a forehand long, his 50th unforced error, compared to 63 winners. Isner failed to convert any of his six break points. Djokovic is 2-0 against Carreno Busta, who qualified for the Masters 1000 event.