Djokovic starts US Open buildup with Mon­treal win

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Top- ranked Novak Djokovic be­gan his prepa­ra­tion for the U.S. Open by de­feat­ing Thomaz Bel­lucci 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) Tues­day, ad­vanc­ing to the third round of the ATP Tour’s Rogers Cup.

But there was no luck with the weather for Andy Mur­ray, with the Bri­tish sec­ond seed forced off court at 4-4 against Spain’s Tommy Ro­bredo when rain struck less than an hour be­fore mid­night, post­pon­ing the fin­ish of the con­test un­til Wed­nes­day.

Ser­bian top seed Djokovic made his first ap­pear­ance since win­ning Wim­ble­don more than a month ago. He also cre­ated a bit of per­sonal history with his 250th win at the Mas­ters 1000 level.

Djokovic is rid­ing a win steak in the elite se­ries, win­ning the last five he has con­tested dat­ing to Paris Bercy last Novem­ber. He re­mains un­de­feated in his last 27 matches at the Mas­ters.

Djokovic will now wait for a win­ner from Amer­i­can Jack Sock and 14th seed Grigor Dim­itrov. Sock beat Adrian Man­nar­ino 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5) while Dim­itrov elim­i­nated Alexandr Dol­go­polov 6-4, 7-5.

“It was a very in­tense match for both play­ers,” Djokovic said of his fourth win over Bel­lucci and his first on hard­court in the se­ries. “There was a lot of ten­sion and a very high qual­ity.

“I man­aged to stay cool and men­tally tough in the right mo­ment. That’s what I take out of this match — the abil­ity to play my best and stay calm in the right mo­ments and over­come this tough chal­lenge.”

Ivo Karlovic beat eighth seed Mi­los Raonic 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/1), af­ter the Cana­dian saved three match points be­fore los­ing for his ear­li­est exit in Mon­treal since 2010. The win­ner’s 22 aces sent him past 10,000 for his ca­reer.

In the first round, holder JoWil­fried Tsonga, the French 10th seed, opened his cam­paign with a de­feat of Borna Coric 6-4, 6-4 while Czech Lukas Rosol up­set South African 12th seed Kevin An­der­son 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7-4)

Bel­gian 13th seed David Gof­fin put out Amer­i­can Steve John­son 6-2, 6-2. John Is­ner, the num­ber 16 and a fi­nal­ist last week in Washington, strug­gled past Ger­many’s Ben­jamin Becker 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3.

Kyr­gios Helped by He­witt

Aus­tralian Nick Kyr­gios be­gan his hard­court run with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 vic­tory over Fer­nando Ver­dasco un­der the watch­ful eye of new men­tor Lley­ton He­witt.

Kyr­gios, the world num­ber 41, is work­ing along­side Aus­tralia’s dou­ble grand slam win­ner in an in­for­mal ca­pac­ity, with the 34-year-old el­der states­man of the cur­rent Aussie game happy to help out the 20-year-old young­ster.

But Kyr­gios said the ar­range­ment re­mains flex­i­ble and fluid, with He­witt also at­tend­ing to his own busi­ness on court as he goes into the fi­nal months of a ca­reer due to end early in 2016 af­ter play­ing in his last Aus­tralian Open.

“He’s not my coach. Let’s clear that up now,” said Kyr­gios af­ter his vic­tory in 95 min­utes over Spain’s Ver­dasco in a first-time meet­ing fea­tur­ing 15 aces off the Aussie rac­quet.

“He’s more of a men­tor. Lley­ton is very kind to take time away from his fam­ily and his ca­reer to help me and Thanassi (Kokki­nakis). We don’t know how long it will last but it is a great help.”

Kyr­gios has not played since los­ing his only sin­gles rub­ber in Davis Cup play last month af­ter fin­ish­ing a tur­bu­lent Wim­ble­don fort­night which was marred by out­bursts and con­tro­versy from his side.

Kyr­gios called his win over Ver­dasco ac­cept­able.

“I was pleased to get a win over a qual­ity op­po­nent,” he said be­fore mov­ing into a sec­ond-round clash with French Open cham­pion Stan Wawrinka. “I’m re­ally happy with my­self.”

AP

Novak Djokovic, of Ser­bia, eyes the ball to smash a re­turn to Thomaz Bel­lucci, of Brazil, at the Rogers Cup ten­nis tour­na­ment in Mon­tre­alTues­day, Aug. 11.

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