ten­nis

Britain’s Evans to re­turn in Glas­gow af­ter dop­ing ban

Arab Times - - FRONT PAGE -

MONACO, April 16, (Agen­cies): No­vak Djokovic reached the sec­ond round of the Monte Carlo Mas­ters with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Du­san La­jovic on Mon­day.

The ninth-seeded Serb won in only 57 min­utes de­spite hav­ing to save break points in three con­sec­u­tive ser­vice games in the sec­ond set, in­clud­ing two when serv­ing for the match.

Djokovic, a two-time cham­pion in Monte Carlo, won on his first match point when La­jovic swiped a fore­hand wide. He then whipped off his hat, tilted his head back and raised his hands in tri­umph.

The for­mer-top ranked Djokovic has been trou­bled by a per­sis­tent right el­bow in­jury and his rank­ing has tum­bled to No. 13. Ear­lier this month, he stopped work­ing with An­dre Agassi and Radek Stepanek the lat­est in a se­ries of coach­ing changes for the 12-time ma­jor cham­pion. He has not won a Grand Slam tour­na­ment since the 2016 French Open.

“I’ve had a very dif­fi­cult time in the last 12 months with the in­jury and ev­ery­thing else that’s hap­pened,” Djokovic said. “I’m lack­ing matches and a bit of con­fi­dence on court. But “I’m look­ing ahead.’

Djokovic will next face Borna Coric of Croa­tia, who beat French veteran Julien Ben­neteau 6-2, 6-3.

Kei Nishikori reached the sec­ond round by beat­ing To­mas Berdych 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. He broke the 12th-seeded Czechs serve six times and dropped his own twice.

Nishikori, like Djokovic, needs time on court af­ter only re­cently re­turn­ing from a torn ten­don in his right wrist. That in­jury had ruled him out of last year’s US. Open and this year’s Aus­tralian Open.

The Ja­panese player, ranked 36th, came back in late Fe­bru­ary when he lost to Denis Shapo­valov in the first round of the Mex­ico Open. He then reached the third round of the Mi­ami Mas­ters last month, los­ing to Juan Mar­tin del Potro.

“I’ts not great but first match on clay, I’m ex­pect­ing (a) lit­tle sore­ness,” Nishikori said. “Hope I get more con­fi­dence and do well (at) these five tour­na­ments on clay.”

Other win­ners in­cluded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, Mi­los Raonic of Canada, An­drey Rublev of Rus­sia, and Al­bert Ramos-Vi­no­las of Spain.

Ramos-Vi­no­las, who lost in last year’s fi­nal, beat Jared Don­ald­son 6-3, 6-3. Don­ald­son ranted at the chair um­pire over a line call and then squared up to him as he con­tin­ued to ar­gue. The 21-year-old Amer­i­can re­ceived a code vi­o­la­tion.

LON­DON:

Also:

Bri­ton Dan Evans is set to re­turn from a one-year dop­ing ban as a wild­card en­trant at this month’s ATP Chal­lenger Tour event in Glas­gow, the Lawn Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion (LTA) said on Mon­day.

The 27-year-old, who tested posi- tive for co­caine dur­ing the Barcelona Open last year, is el­i­gi­ble to re­turn for the tour­na­ment start­ing April 28.

“I want to thank ev­ery­one who has sup­ported me through­out this dif­fi­cult pe­riod,” Evans, the for­mer world num­ber 41, said in a state­ment.

“I have learned a lot about my­self in my time away from the game, a sport that I love very dearly. I am now com­mit­ted to train­ing hard, re­sum­ing my ca­reer and get­ting back to where I was, al­though ap­pre­ci­ate this will take time.”

Evans was handed a wild­card by the LTA af­ter he passed the “agreed checks” over the last six weeks.

“(Dan) has be­gun to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of the LTA’s anti-dop­ing ed­u­ca­tion ma­te­ri­als to help emerg­ing young play­ers avoid sim­i­lar mis­takes,” LTA per­for­mance di­rec­tor Si­mon Tim­son said.

Ser­bia’s No­vak Djokovic re­turns a ball to com­pa­triot Du­san La­jovic dur­ing their round of 64 ten­nis match at the Monte Carlo ATP Mas­ters Se­ries Tour­na­ment on April 16, in Monaco. (AFP)

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