Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga hurdle China Open rivals
Beijing, China (4E Sports) – World No. 2 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, in his first match since a runner-up finish at the US Open, needed three sets to fend off first-round rival Michael Berrer of Germany, 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2, Tuesday at the China Open.
With the win, Djokovic remained a perfect 10-0 in Beijing, dating back to 2009 and 2010 when he won the event.
“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 improved his match record this year to 61-11. “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 it up more, and I had tough time reading it. I made little adjustment on the return, came closer to the line, and it paid off,” added Djokovic, who will face Carlos Berlocq of Argentina in the second round.
World No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also hurdled his first-round clash, edging Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(3) in just under two hours.
“It was not easy, because I played a good player in the first round; it was not easy to get used to the conditions,” said Tsonga, who will next face Nikolay Davydenko, who won an all-Russian contest with qualifier Alex Bogomolov Jr., 7-5, 6-1 in one hour and 41 minutes.
Another Russian, Mikhail Youzhny knocked out No. 21-ranked Tommy Haas, the No. 7 seed from Germany, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 24 minutes. He goes on to face Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the second round.
Fifth seed Richard Gasquet started his campaign with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden and seal a second-round clash with Ze Zhang.
Yen-Hsun Lu was leading 5-2 when Spaniard David Ferrer retired with a stomach virus. Lu goes on to face Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who held off America’s Ryan Harrison for a 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-2 victory in two hours and 10 minutes.
Austrian Jurgen Melzer struck 12 aces to beat Pablo Andujar of Spain, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(3), and set up a clash against sixth-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Italian Andreas Seppi led Julien Benneteau when the latter retired with a right arm injury. He will next face Sam Querrey.
In the women’s side, Julia Goerges of Germany stunned eighth seed Samantha Stosur of Australia, 7-6(2), 4-6, 7-5 in the second round to advance against Marion Bartoli, a 6-4, 6-3 winner of Ayumi Morita.
Tenth seed Caroline Wozniacki survived tough Taiwanese Su-Wei Hsieh, 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-0 to reach the third round together with top seed Victoria Azarenka, third seed Agnieszka Radwanska and fifth seed Angelique Kerber.
At the Japan Open, World No. 3 Andy Murray opened his title defense with a 7-6(7), 6-4 first-round victory over lucky loser Ivo Karlovic of Croatia.
Murray, who won his first major title at the US Open recently, will face Lukas Lacko in the second round.
In other games, world No. 17 Kei Nishikori rallied past countryman Go Soeda 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the first round to seal a showdown with Tommy Robredo, who defeated Jarkko Nieminen, 6-2, 6-4.
Wild card Tatsuma Ito recorded the biggest win of his career by beating World No. 12 Nicolas Almagro, 7-6(4), 7-6(5). He will next play qualifier Dmitry Tursunov, who beat Bernard Tomic, 6-4, 7-5.
Sixth seed Milos Raonic reached the second round after defeating Radek Stepanek, 6-4, 6-4, while France’s Jeremy Chardy beat wild card Yuichi Sugita, 6-1, 7-5.