ATP Cincinnati: Novak Djokovic advances as his rival retires

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina retired against Novak Djokovic due to back issues

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Cincinnati: Novak Djokovic advances as his rival retires

World no. 2 Novak Djokovic is competing in Cincinnati for the first time since 2019. Novak made a winning start after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4 in the second round, with the Spaniard retiring after the second set's second point due to back issues.

It was their fifth duel and Djokovic's fourth victory, staying on the court for 46 minutes and setting the third-round clash with his old rival Gael Monfils. Competing for the first time since the Wimbledon final, Novak served at 41% and got broken once from four chances offered to his opponent.

Davidovich Fokina struggled on the second serve and experienced two breaks, dropping the opener and deciding to retire, risking nothing ahead of the US Open. The Serb made a perfect hold in the encounter's first game, holding at love after the Spaniard's forehand error.

Alejandro responded with an ace in game two, bringing it home at 15 and getting his name on the scoreboard.

Novak Djokovic is off to a winning start in Cincinnati.

Djokovic struggled to find his first serve and sprayed a forehand error in the third game to experience two break points.

World no. 2 denied them with powerful serves and blasted an ace to get out of jail and open a 2-1 gap. Davidovich Fokina left those chances behind and held at 30 in game four with an ace down the T line, locking the result at 2-2.

Novak grabbed the fifth game at 15 and missed a routine backhand at the net in the next one to hand it to his opponent. Djokovic secured the seventh game at love and kept the pressure on his rival, who left the court to receive a medical timeout.

They continued seven minutes and 40 seconds later, and Davidovich Fokina played his first loose service game. Novak created three break points with a forehand winner and seized the first after Alejandro's backhand slice error to open a 5-3 gap and serve for the opener.

Suddenly, Novak netted a backhand in the ninth game, offering his rival two break chances. Davidovich Fokina claimed an extended rally to clinch the second, pulling the break back and extending the set. Struggling with his movement and timing, the Spaniard sprayed an error in the tenth game and offered the Serb two set points.

Novak seized the first with a forehand crosscourt winner, wrapping up the first part of the duel. Alejandro decided to retire after the opening two points of the second set's first game, unable to play competitive tennis against his good friend.

Atp Cincinnati Novak Djokovic Alejandro Davidovich Foki