Fri, Aug 21, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Djokovic cruises through opening match in Ohio

Reuters

Serena Williams signs autographs after defeating Tsvetana Pironkova at the Western & Southern Open at the Linder Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

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.

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