Tennis: Djokovic advances in Japan after doubles exit

AP , Tuesday 1 Oct 2019

Novak Djokovic
Serbia's Novak Djokovic hits a return against Australia's Alexei Popyrin in their men's singles first round match at the ATP Japan Open Tennis tournament in Tokyo on October 1, 2019. (AFP)

 Novak Djokovic made amends for his doubles exit at the Japan Open by progressing to the second round of the singles on Tuesday.

The top-ranked Serb - attempting to win a title on his tournament debut for the 10th time - beat Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-2 and next faces local wild card entry Go Soeda.

Holding to love in four of his nine service games, Djokovic did not give any break-point opportunities to Popyrin in the match.

Djokovic, alongside Filip Krajinovic, had been knocked out of the doubles by the fourth-seeded Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares on Monday. That was Djokovic's first competitive match since retiring during his fourth-round clash with Stan Wawrinka at the U.S. Open.

Japanese wild card Taro Daniel caused the biggest upset of the day by beating second-seeded Borna Coric 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) after a grueling 2 hours, 39 minutes in 30-degree C (86 F) heat on the Colosseum show court.

Daniel is joined in the second round by compatriot Yasutaka Uchiyama, the qualifier needing only 54 minutes to dismantle fourth-seeded Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-2. He next meets Radu Albot, who beat Krajinovic 6-3, 7-5.

Uchiyama's victory means four of the five Japanese main draw entries made it through to the second round.

Reilly Opelka won an all-American duel with seventh-seeded Taylor Fritz, 6-3, 6-4, to set up a second-round match against Frenchman Gilles Simon, who beat Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-0.

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