Djokovic Moves Past Muller At Rogers Cup
In his first match since Wimbledon, top seed Novak Djokovic weathered a difficult opening test against Gilles Muller on Wednesday at the Rogers Cup, serving to stay in both sets before advancing to the third round, 7-5, 7-6(3).
Muller, No. 37 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is coming off a runner-up showing earlier this month at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. He traded routine service holds with Djokovic until 5-5 in the opening set, when the Serbian converted on his first break point chance and then served out the set in the next game.
Muller continued to show his fighting spirit throughout the second set. Djokovic broke the Luxembourg star for the chance to serve out the match at 5-4, but Muller responded with an immediate break back. He took a 3/1 lead in the tie-break, but the Serbian won the final six points to take the match.
Djokovic is making his 10th consecutive appearance at the Rogers Cup. He has excelled in Canada throughout his career, winning three times (2007, 2011, 2012) and finishing as runner-up last year (l. Murray).
Next up for Djokovic is qualifier Radek Stepanek, who continued his run in Toronto by advancing to the third round over wild card Peter Polansky, 7-6(5), 6-4. Stepanek, ranked No. 129 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, upset No. 14 seed Benoit Paire in the opening round on Tuesday. His best result at the Rogers Cup is a semi-final showing in 2007 (l. Federer).
Djokovic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 11-1 and has won their past 10 matches, but they haven’t played since Wimbledon in 2014.
Qualifier Ryan Harrison provided the first upset on Wednesday by defeating ninth seed John Isner, 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 6-4. Harrison, ranked No. 144 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, saved all four break points he faced in the match.
Both players held serve throughout the opening set, but Harrison reeled off five straight points in the tie-break to take the set. Isner saved three match points on his serve at 4-5 and eventually brought the second set to another tie-break. He earned a mini-break to lead 3/2 and rode the small advantage to a deciding set.
With Isner serving at 4-4, Harrison earned the first break of the match and then served out the upset in the next game. He improved his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Isner to 2-5 with the win.
Next up for the American is fifth seed Tomas Berdych.