Djokovic moves into second round in Tokyo
World number one Novak Djokovic blasted past qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday to reach the second round of the Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.
Playing in his first singles match since retiring from his US Open fourth-round match with Stanislas Wawrinka due to a left shoulder issue, the Serb showed he was fighting fit as he fired seven aces and won 84 per cent of points on his first serve.
Djokovic, now into his 271st week at number one having passed Ivan Lendl (270) for third place in the all-time list, takes on local favourite Go Soeda in the next round.
Japanese wildcard Taro Daniel stunned second seed Borna Coric 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5), while compatriot Yasutaka Uchiyama took down French fourth seed Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-2.
Seventh seed Taylor Fritz fell 6-3 6-4 to fellow American Reilly Opelka, while Radu Albot and Gilles Simon advanced.
Murray outlasts Berrettini to advance in Beijing
Andy Murray showed all the grit and determination that took him to the top of the world rankings and more recently return from hip surgery as he overcame Matteo Berrettini 7-6(2), 7-6(7) on Tuesday to reach the second round of the China Open.
Murray, who won his first ATP tour singles encounter in nine months at Zhuhai last week after hip resurfacing surgery, saved five out of seven break points and converted two of his own to down the U.S. Open semi-finalist in a little over two hours.
The 32-year-old, ranked 503 in the world, is stepping up his singles comeback in the Asian swing of the ATP Tour and takes on fellow Briton Cameron Norrie next.
Norrie advanced after his opponent Cristian Garin retired from their clash with the score at 7-6(5), 1-0 on Monday.
Gael Monfils followed eighth seed Berrettini out of the tournament after the Frenchman was beaten 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 by unseeded American John Isner.
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime later swatted aside Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 6-4 to set up a match with world number six Alexander Zverev.
Top seed Dominic Thiem is in action against veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Injured Halep ousted from China Open, Andreescu advances
Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova upset sixth seed Simona Halep in straight sets in the second round of the China Open on Monday, recording a 6-2, 6-3 win in Beijing for her first top-10 victory of the season.
Wimbledon champion Halep was troubled by the back injury that forced her to withdraw from last week’s Wuhan Open, dropping serve six times in the 63-minute encounter against her unseeded opponent.
“It was a pretty tough match but I think she didn’t play that well,” Alexandrova said. “I remember when we played last time in Cincinnati, it was tougher than today.
Halep showed no signs of the injury in her first-round straight-sets victory over qualifier Rebecca Peterson but admitted she now needed to take a break from the tour to fully recover.
Fifth seed Bianca Andreescu survived a second-set onslaught from Aliaksandra Sasnovich to win her first match since her U.S. Open triumph. Her 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 victory over the Belarusian set up a third-round clash with Elise Mertens.
A poor service game from Andreescu, which included six double faults, gave Sasnovich 16 break points but the unseeded 25-year-old was able to convert only four.
Third seed Elina Svitolina won two tiebreaks to dispatch China’s Wang Yafan 7-6(5), 7-6(1) while Belinda Bencic battled back from a set down to beat veteran Venus Williams 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki sailed into the second round with a 6-1, 6-3 win over American Lauren Davis.