Ser­ena Wil­liams, Novak Djokovic play to vic­tory in Cincinnati openers

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY JOE KAY

go­ing to have to fix that more men­tally than any­thing. I think once I lock in there I will be OK.”

She’s al­ready start­ing to get locked in on New York by lim­it­ing her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties away from the court.

“I’m re­ally try­ing to stay away from stress and stay away from press,” Wil­liams said. “But, you know, that’s a lit­tle dif­fi­cult.

“I don’t nec­es­sar­ily want to hear about, ‘Oh, this history and that history,’ be­cause I just want to be able to do the best that I can. I want to be able to win and I don’t want any dis­trac­tions. That’s how I’m go­ing to han­dle it.”

The top-ranked Wil­liams was com­ing off a loss to Belinda Ben­cic on Satur­day night in Toronto in the Rogers Cup semi­fi­nals.

Wil­liams’ sis­ter, Venus, dropped out of the tour­na­ment Tues­day night with an ill­ness. Maria Shara­pova also dropped out with a lin­ger­ing in­jury to her right leg.

Third-seeded Simona Halep ad­vanced, but fifth-seeded Caro­line Woz­ni­acki lost to Vic­to­ria Azarenka 6-0, 6-4. Azarenka, mak­ing a come­back from an­kle and knee in­juries last year, won 16 of the first 21 points to take con­trol.

On the men’s side, Djokovic waited out a long rain de­lay be­fore his match started, and then wasted chances to close it out quickly. He con­verted only 5 of 15 break points. The first set lasted 64 min­utes, with Paire us­ing drop shots to keep Djokovic guess­ing.

“It was a strange match all in all, but the in­struc­tions I got from the coach was to ex­pect the un­ex­pected, and that was the case,” Djokovic said. “You couldn’t re­ally pre­dict what kind of shot comes your way.”

Djokovic has never won in Cincinnati, los­ing the fi­nals to Andy Mur­ray in 2008 and 2011, and to Roger Fed­erer in 2009 and 2012. A ti­tle this week would make him the first player to win all nine ATP Mas­ters events.

Mur­ray, who beat Djokovic to win in Mon­treal on Sun­day, beat Mardy Fish 6-4, 7-6 (1) in a match fea­tur­ing a flurry of ser­vice breaks. There were four late in the sec­ond set, with Mur­ray break­ing Fish to tie it 6-6.

They traded points in the tiebreaker be­fore Mur­ray ran off six in a row to close it out.

“He made it very tricky for me,” said Mur­ray, who will face Bulgaria’s Grigor Dim­itrov on Thurs­day. “The con­di­tions were tough. It was very hu­mid.”

Nadal knocked off Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4 in a match that ended at 12:43 a.m. Chardy fought off four match points be­fore Nadal fin­ished it off. He’ll play Feli­ciano Lopez on Thurs­day.

AP

(Left) Ser­ena Wil­liams, of the U.S., tosses the ball to serve to Tsve­tana Pironkova, of Bulgaria, dur­ing a match at the Western & South­ern Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Ma­son, Ohio, Wed­nes­day, Aug. 19. (Right) Novak Djokovic, of Ser­bia, right, signs au­to­graphs af­ter de­feat­ing Benoit Paire, of France, in a match at the Western & South­ern Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Ma­son, Wed­nes­day.

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