World No. 1 Novak Djokovic cruised through his opening match at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Wednesday, while Stanislas Wawrinka had to dig deep to beat Borna Coric.
Andy Murray, who beat Djokovic in the Rogers Cup final on Sunday and moved up to second in the world rankings, had a tough second-round outing against Mardy Fish, but came through 6-4 7-6 (7/1), while Rafael Nadal also advanced after beating Jeremy Chardy.
Wawrinka defeated Croatian teen Coric 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
Top seed Djokovic cruised through his opener against Benoit Paire, beating the Frenchman 7-5, 6-2 to set up a third-round clash with Belgian 13th seed David Goffin.
Murray, who ended an eight-match, 25-month drought against the Serb in Montreal, was given a thorough test by the 33-year-old Fish, who has said he will retire after the US Open, which starts on Aug. 31.
After taking the first set 6-4, Murray let frustration creep into his game and he smashed his racquet after being broken in the 11th game of the second set, which gave the American the chance to serve out to even the match.
However, Murray broke right back and dominated the tiebreak to close the match out after midnight.
“I forgot how tricky Mardy was to play against,” Murray said after improving his career record to 5-4 against Fish. “He takes the ball incredibly early and the ball comes off his racquet so quick sometimes. I found it very tough... I didn’t feel that confident striking the ball, which is quite different to last week.”
Eighth seed Nadal, swept aside by Kei Nishikori in the Rogers Cup quarters, beat Frenchman Chardy 6-3, 6-4. The Spaniard showed some positive signs of returning to form, but still had to stave off nine break points.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams put herself back on the winning track with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in her opening match.
The defending champion enjoyed a successful return to Cincinnati, but Carolina Wozniacki, who Williams beat in the final at Flushing Meadows last year, continued her poor build-up for New York with a straight-sets loss to Victoria Azarenka.
Williams prevailed in 90 minutes and showed none of the uncharacteristic struggles that dogged her during last week’s semi-final loss to Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic in Toronto.
The world No. 1 broke Pironkova’s serve once in each set and then sealed victory in style with her 15th ace of the second-round match.
“There wasn’t anything really tactical in particular for me today, I always just try to play my game and be consistent and stay focused,” said Williams, who improved to 44-2 this year.
The American faces Karin Knapp in the third round after the Italian advanced with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Russia’s Daria Gavrilova.
In the evening session, Azarenka continued her dominance of Wozniacki when she eased past the fifth seed 6-0, 6-4.
Though ranked well below her opponent due to an extended injury layoff, it was the fifth consecutive straight sets victory for the world No. 21 from Belarus over the Dane.
Wozniacki had her chances in the second set, but frittered away 10 of 11 break points, while Azarenka converted two of her four chances.
Fourth seed Petra Kvitova also bowed out, the Czech beaten 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 by Caroline Garcia, of France, leaving the women’s event with just two of the top five seeds still standing.
Garcia faces 14th seed Elina Svitolina in the next round after the Ukrainian edged out the slumping Eugenie Bouchard 7-6, (8/6), 7-5 as the Canadian’s woeful season continued.
In earlier action, Romanian third seed Simona Halep beat Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 5-7, 6-4, while Czech seventh seed Lucie Safarova advanced with a 6-4, 7-5 win over American wild-card Coco Vandeweghe.
In women’s doubles second-round play, Taiwanese duo Chuang Chia-jung and Hsieh Su-wei ousted Raquel Kops-Jones of the US and Anastasia Rodionova of Australia 6-1, 3-6, 10-7.
Additional reporting by staff writer
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in
Michael Schumacher’s son Mick said that the prospect of Lewis Hamilton equaling the Ferrari great’s all-time record of 91 wins has given him something to aim for when he gets to Formula One. Hamilton, who replaced Michael Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013, can take his 91st victory in today’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi — a race he has won four times previously. “One sentence my dad always used to say was: ‘Records are there to be broken.’ It’s everybody’s aim in this sport to do that,” Formula Two championship leader Mick Schumacher said on Friday. “I think Lewis had a very, very