Playing their first match since the US Open final, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, made successful fall debuts last night in Asia. Novak Djokovic wasn’t scintillating but he got past qualifier Michael Berrer in three sets 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2 in his Beijing opener, as the Serb makes his charge for the No. 1 ranking.
“In the first set I felt that I could return a lot of serves, which I did, and played a really good set,” said Djokovic who is 10-0 all-time in Beijing. “Then I had a couple of break points in the first game of the second. He stayed with some big serves. That’s when I think he changed his tactics and his service games. He started mixing up more, and I had tough time to read it. I made little adjustment on the return, came closer to the line, and it paid off.”
Next for Novak is Carlos Berlocq Wednesday.
JW Tsonga was also a three set winner scraping by Denis Istomin 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(3). Second seed David Ferrer just had to retire in the first set to Yen Hsun Lu.
The women have one of their major events in Beijing. Serena and Venus aren’t there but Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sam Stosur are in attendance and still in the draw.
In Tokyo, Andy Murray won his eighth straight match ousting the dangerous “lucky loser” Ivo Karlovic 7-6(7), 6-4. Karlovic, who was a fill-in when Gael Monfils withdrew, blasted 18 aces in the loss.
“The good thing was I found out last night I was going to play Karlovic, so that helped,” Murray said. “Sometimes lucky losers come in right at the last minute, but I had the evening to think about the match for a little bit. When I practiced this morning, I was able to practice the things I needed to when you play against a guy with a big serve.”
Murray won this title last year. He’ll play Lukas Lacko tonight in the second round.
Canadian Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori were also winners. Nicolas Almagro was upset by wildcard Tatsuma Ito.
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