Cincinnati | Djokovic overcomes stomach bug and opponent
Novak Djokovic has never won the Cincinnati Masters and it is a gap in his CV which he desperately wants to fill to be able to say he has at one time or other, won all the Masters titles during his career, much like he has with the four majors.
He took a step towards that goal when he beat Adrian Mannarino despite dropping the first set when he picked up his game in the second to cruise comfortably to a 4-6 6-2 6-1 victory.
I really want to win this tournament, and I have been trying. I’m still in the tournament this year, and hopefully I can get a shot at the title. Novak Djokovic
“I think it adds more to the motivation rather than pressure,” Djokovic said of his attempt to be the first player to win all nine Masters. “I really want to win this tournament, and I have been trying. I’m still in the tournament this year, and hopefully I can get a shot at the title.
“But I need to definitely play better than I have in the first couple matches. I have been training a lot and trying to find the game and the level of tennis that I want to be on. I am motivated to get far in this tournament, without a doubt.”
He also had to overcome a stomach bug which required some medical attention during the second set.
“I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t have a great night and wasn’t feeling that well for the first set and a half,” Djokovic admitted. “I kind of made it through, and with the help of the doctor and God I’m just happy that I managed to overcome the challenge.
“Credit to him playing well in the first set, but I wasn’t myself. On the court I had difficulty moving around and just hitting the ball, making a lot of unforced errors. The second part of the second set and third set it was already much better. I will try to take that into next match.”
The Serb faces the defending champion Grigor Dimitrov in the next round, the Bulgarian having beaten Mischa Zverev 7-6(5) 7-5 to reach this stage. Djokovic holds a 7-1 record against Dimitrov.
Alexander Zverev joined his elder brother on what proved a bad day for the family. He was defeated by Robin Haase 5-7 6-4 7-5 and means that he arrives at the US Open with 2-match losing streak.
Stan Wawrinka’s road back from injury is showing great improvement as he scored a morale boosting 6-4 6-4 win over Kei Nishikori.
Marin Cilic, the 2016 men’s champion, beat Romanian Marius Copil 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4,
Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson beat Jeremy Chardy 7-6(6) 6-2 while Canadian Milos Raonic advanced over Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-3 7-5.
Nick Kyrgios shook off a dismal second set to beat Croatian Borna Coric 7-6(1) 0-6, 6-3.
The Australian, who petulantly smacked a ball into the stands as he unravelled in the second set, pulled himself together to set up a meeting with either South Korean Chung Hyeon or Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, whose scheduled match never got underway due to a second rain interruption on what proved a rain-affected day.