Novak Djokovic wins Cincinnati Open singles match for first time since 2019, defeating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4
Posted : 17 August 2023
Novak Djokovic cruised to a resounding victory at the Cincinnati Open, marking his return to singles competition in the United States after a hiatus of two years. The 23-time Grand Slam champion had been sidelined due to Covid protocols that prevented his participation on American soil. However, relaxed regulations for unvaccinated foreign travelers in May enabled his comeback.
Djokovic's triumph began with a strong opening set of 6-4 against Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Spanish player eventually retired from the match due to a back issue. This win marked Djokovic's first time competing in singles at Cincinnati since 2019. Earlier this week, he faced defeat in doubles alongside compatriot Nikola Cacic, as they were outplayed by Britain's Jamie Murray and New Zealand's Michael Venus.
Reflecting on his return, the Serbian maestro expressed, "Time flies. Four years seems like it was yesterday. It's definitely nice to be back." He fondly recalled past successes at the tournament, particularly his 2018 victory, which was a notable achievement given his string of final losses. Djokovic further elaborated, "It's been two years - I missed it. Some of the biggest tournaments in our sport are played on American soil. I'm just excited to play some tennis."
Elsewhere in the tournament, Australian qualifier Max Purcell notched an impressive victory by defeating third seed Casper Ruud in three sets. This marked Purcell's first win against a top-10 ranked player. His remarkable performance included saving six out of seven break points, securing a 6-4 3-6 6-4 triumph. His reward is a meeting with three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka.
Wawrinka continued his resurgence with a convincing 6-3 6-4 win over American 16th seed Frances Tiafoe. Meanwhile, sixth seed Jannik Sinner faced an exit, falling to Serbian Dusan Lajovic in straight sets of 6-4 7-6 (7-1).
Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev demonstrated his prowess by progressing to the last 16 with a commanding 6-3 6-2 victory over Italy's Lorenzo Musetti. Medvedev, the 2019 champion, is set to face Germany's Alexander Zverev in the next round. Zverev secured his advancement by triumphing 7-5 6-4 against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka. Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and American ninth seed Taylor Fritz also advanced in the tournament.
Tsitsipas is slated to face Poland's Hubert Hurkacz, who eliminated Croatian defending champion Borna Coric. As the Cincinnati Open continues, the clash of tennis titans and emerging talents adds to the excitement of the competition.