Djokovic Back As Davidovich Fokina Backs Out At Cincinnati Masters, Wawrinka In Peak Form; Alcaraz v Paul Rematch

by Staff | August 17th, 2023, 12:37 am
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After 23 months Novak Djokovic played his first match in the USA Wednesday night at the Cincinnati Masters and it didn’t take long. Djokovic was up against Canadian semifinalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina but the Spaniard pulled up lame with a back injury in the middle of the first.

Djokovic would break but fail to serve out the first, but broke again to take the opener and Davidovich Fokina called it a night at 6-4.

“I hope Alejandro bounces back to the court quickly, recovers from his lower back injury, that’s what he told me at the net,” Djokovic said after in press to the ATP>


“It’s never the way you like to win, I think for the crowd as well. Coming in, they expect to see a battle, they expect to see a match. Of course it’s great for me to be able to come back to the court and win a match. Obviously mixed emotions with the way it finished.”

Fans then rushed to Grandstand where American hope Frances Tiafoe was taking on Stan Wawrinka under the lights. But Tiafoe has zero answers for the 3-time Slam winner as Wawrinka played like he did when he was among the best, winning 6-3, 6-4.

Wawrinka pounded his groundstrokes with pace and precision and lost a total of one point on his first serve in one of his best victories in years.

“It’s been probably the best match of the season, I think the most complete match,” Wawrinka told the ATP. “I was feeling good, moving well, serving well, being aggressive, staying with him, fighting. I’m super happy and hopefully I can keep playing that well.”

In the marquee afternoon match, former finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas toughed out two breakers to beat 20-year-old Ben Shelton 7-6(7-3), 7-6(7-2).

There a total of zero break points in the match as Tsitsipas lost three points on first serve, Shelton just seven. But Tsitsipas’s return stepped up big in both breakers as did his speed and variety.

Former champ Daniil Medvedev took care of Lorenzo Musetti for the second straight week 6-3, 6-2.

Hubert Hurkacz eliminated 2022 champion Borna Coric in a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.

A trio of Top 10ers fell as Canadian Open winner Jannik Sinner slipped to Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-6(7-4). Max Purcell ousted US Open finalist Casper Ruud 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and Holger Rune retired with a back injury after going down 6-4, 2-0 to Mackenzie McDonald.

Also, Ninth-seeded Taylor Fritz bested Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 7-6(7-1). Gael Monfils Canadian finalist Alex De Minaur in straights 7-5, 6-4. The 14th-seeded Tommy Paul dismissed Ugo Humbert 6-1, 7-6(7-4) and 16th-seeded Alexander Zverev got by (27y,45r) Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5, 6-4.

With Paul winning, that sets up a tasty rematch tomorrow for the American against world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz. Paul beat Alcaraz last week in Toronto.

Djokovic is back to take on Monfils. He leads the Frenchman 18-0!

“He’s an amazing guy. Someone I truly respect and like a lot as a person,” Djokovic said of Monfils. “He brings so much joy to the fans, so much entertainment. One of the most charismatic players that we’ve had in the past two decades on the Tour.”

Tsitsipas will face Hurkacz, Medvedev meets Zverev and Fritz gets Lajovic.

THURSDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT
Starting At: 11:00 am
WTA Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) [10] vs Sloane Stephens (USA)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP Stefanos TSITSIPAS (GRE) [4] vs Hubert HURKACZ (POL)
ATP Carlos ALCARAZ (ESP) [1] vs Tommy PAUL (USA) [14]

Not Before 7:00 PM
WTA [Q] Linda Noskova (CZE) vs Coco Gauff (USA) [7]

Not Before 8:30 pm
ATP [PR] Gael MONFILS (FRA) vs Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) [2]

GRANDSTAND
Starting At: 11:00 am
ATP Alexander ZVEREV (GER) [16] vs Daniil MEDVEDEV [3]
Not Before 1:00 PM
WTA Iga Swiatek (POL) [1] vs Qinwen Zheng (CHN)
Not Before 2:00 PM
WTA Marie Bouzkova (CZE) vs Jessica Pegula (USA) [3]

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP [Q] Dusan LAJOVIC (SRB) vs Taylor FRITZ (USA) [9]


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