Novak Djokovic ends 6-week layoff with easy win

League: Tennis

Posted on: 02 Nov, 2023 at 01:53 AM

Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic cruised to a victory in his opening match at the Rolex Paris Masters, crushing Argentina's Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-3, 6-2 in the second round Wednesday.

The tournament's top eight seeds received first-round byes.

Djokovic, a 36-year-old Serbian, made the finals in all four majors this past year, prevailing in the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open. He raised his record-setting total to 24 Grand Slam titles. Now, he is shooting for his seventh championship at the Paris Masters.

The latest win came in Djokovic's first match in six weeks.

"People around me always talk about the danger of not playing so many weeks and I am aware," Djokovic said. "I felt nerves going into the match even though I have plenty of experience. But you need some time to get the engine going and to hit through the ball and that is what started to happen to me at end of first set and that was great."

Djokovic won 80 percent of his first-serve points and saved the only break point he faced while converting three of his seven break opportunities.

"I am pleased," Djokovic said. "I think I played well in the important points. Hit the extra shot and made him uncomfortable. I think I changed the position of the court and did not give him the same look. I think that allowed me to break serve in the first set.

"I was serving up and down. Some parts of the match really good, others losing the rhythm. But I think it is normal to be rusty a little bit after not playing an official match for so long. But a straight-sets win against a guy who has been improving so much."

In other second-round matches Wednesday, two U.S. players were eliminated. Dutch qualifier Botic Van De Zandschulp downed 12th-seeded Tommy Paul 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, and fourth-seeded Italian Jannik Sinner rallied past Mackenzie McDonald 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-1.

Ninth-seeded Taylor Fritz of the United States withdrew ahead of his second-round match due to an abdominal strain, giving a walkover win to Germany's Daniel Altmaier.

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov upset third-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), and Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo topped eighth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway 7-5, 6-4.

Also advancing to the third round were sixth-seeded Holger Rune on Denmark, seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, 10th-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany, 11th-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland and 13th-seeded Alex de Minaur of Australia.

--Field Level Media