Geneva | Djokovic celebrates birthday with win.

Novak Djokovic made his debut at the Geneva Open, to try and halt the poor run of results he has experienced so far this season, underlined in recent weeks, by his early exit from Rome.

The birthday probably wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t win the match, but it’s nice to be here for the first time at this tournament, with my family Novak Djokovic

His best results so far were his semi-final appearances at the Australian Open and Monte Carlo meaning that this season he has won twelve matches in the five events he has contested which, by his standards, is well below the standards he has set himself in previous years.

So, to find the world No.1 playing an ATP 250 level event to rediscover that touch a week ahead of the French Open which kicks off on Sunday, is surprising but understandable under the circumstances.

And he has made the most of the occasion by posting a second-round win following an opening round bye, defeating Germany’s Yannik Hanfmann 6-3 6-3 on what was his 37th birthday,
and register his 1,100th career win to become only the third player in ATP history to reach that landmark behind Jimmy Connors (1274) and Roger Federer (1251).

A loss would certainly have been a major setback and a black cloud over any birthday celebrations.

“The key was the birthday,” Djokovic admitted. “The birthday probably wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t win the match, but it’s nice to be here for the first time at this tournament, with my family coming here to support as well. I grew up with my aunt, uncle and two cousins for most of my life. We don’t get the chance to see each other that much lately, so it’s really nice. I’m getting some really quality time on the court, but also off the court.”

The result looks a comfortable one but the Serbian did have to deal with some problems as he was actually 3-0 down in the second and had to save a point to prevent going down 4-0. He recovered and produced one of nis famous runs to the sweep through the second set taking the match with six consecutive games.

He also had to contend with a rain break when the score stood at 5-3 in his favour.

More importantly it should be remembered that Djokovic has had to recover from a head wound he suffered in Rome from a water bottle two days prior to his defeat at the hands of Alejandro Tabilo.

The incident reportedly gave him nausea, dizziness, and bleeding, with Djokovic saying that he felt “different” on the court during his defeat to the Chilean.

He now awaits Denis Shapovalov or Tallon Griekspoor as his quarter final opponent.

Meanwhile in the bottom half, the second seeded Casper Ruud rallied from a set down to get past Sebastian Ofner 4-6 6-2 6-2 but Taylor Fritz, the third seed, crashed out to his American compatriot Alex Michelsen 6-4 4-6 7-5.

Casper Ruud successfully open his campaign

(Photo by Mateo Villalba/Getty Images)



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