ATP Cincinnati: Novak Djokovic struggles but ousts Adrian Mannarino

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ATP Cincinnati: Novak Djokovic struggles but ousts Adrian Mannarino

World number 10 Novak Djokovic has scored his 28th win in Cincinnati, staying on the title course in the only Masters 1000 event he failed to win, losing in the final five times in the past. Just like in Toronto or in the opening match here against Steve Johnson, Novak struggled against Adrian Mannarino as well but he emerged as a winner following a 4-6 6-2 6-1 triumph in two hours and eight minutes for the place in the third round where he will face Mischa Zverev or Grigor Dimitrov. This was the 29th win for Novak in 2018 and his 319th at Masters 1000 level, earning it after saving five out seven break points and stealing Adrian's serve five times from eight opportunities, sailing through sets two and three to leave his rival with no chances.

It was not the match of the highest quality, with Novak hitting 20 winners and 35 unforced errors, mostly from his backhand, while Mannarino had 23 winners but also 46 mistakes, which cost him a lot. Nothing could separate them in the mid-range and longer points but Novak had the upper hand in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, finding his range after a poor opening set and celebrating a win despite taking a medical timeout and some pills.

Adrian opened the match in a stronger fashion, facing no break points and converting his fourth break point since the start of the match in game seven to make the crucial lead, closing the set with a hold at 30 in game 10.

Novak served at 44% in the second set but he drew the most from it, losing serve once and taking 60% of the return points to break Adrian in games two, four and eight for a 6-2, recovering his game and standing as the favorite in the decider.

There, Djokovic served both break points he faced and Mannarino stood no chance in his games, losing the ground completely and giving his serve away in games two and four to send Novak over the finish line. Second round results: