Novak Djokovic wins first singles match in the US since 2021 after Alejandro Davidovich Fokina retires

Novak Djokovic won his first match in the United States in two years on Wednesday, reaching the third round of the ATP/WTA Cincinnati Open after Alejandro Davidovich Fokina retired injured.

When his Spanish opponent was unable to continue due to a lower back injury, the world number two Serb advanced after winning the opening set 6-4.

“He told me it started yesterday,” Novak Djokovic said. “Hopefully he will be ready for New York (US Open). He added, “This is never the way you want to win, the crowd was expecting a match, a battle. I have mixed emotions with how the match ended. I’m hoping to build form and progress through the tournament by raising my level.”

Djokovic, 36, lost in doubles on his return to the nation on Tuesday after skipping events due to COVID-19 vaccine restrictions. It’s his first appearance in Cincinnati since 2019. Because of COVID-19, the 2020 Western & Southern Open took place in New York.

Since losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon championship match, Djokovic had not played in a singles tournament. Djokovic, who holds a men’s record of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, will take against Frenchman Gael Monfils on Thursday. Monfils has a lifetime record of 0-18 against Djokovic.

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