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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomeOther SportsFive-year Indian Wells absence ended with a challenging victory for Novak Djokovic

Five-year Indian Wells absence ended with a challenging victory for Novak Djokovic

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Novak Djokovic won the Cincinnati and Paris Bercy crowns in the previous season and has won 11 straight Masters matches.

At the ATP-WTA Indian Wells Masters, five years after his previous match, Novak Djokovic battled his way to a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Aleksandar Vukic on Saturday. At the first Masters event of the season in the desert, world number one Djokovic is going for his sixth victory. Since losing to Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open semi-final on January 26, he had not played. Joining Rafael Nadal as the only man to achieve the 400 milestone at the elite level, the 36-year-old Serb won his 400th career Masters-level match.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion has won the last 11 Masters, including victories in Cincinnati and Paris Bercy last season.

Coco Gauff, the third seed in the women’s tournament, came back from four games behind in the last set to overcome Clara Burel of France 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

Former number one Naomi Osaka advanced to the third round with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Liudmila Samsonova.

Djokovic won the first set in 35 minutes with two service breaks, but had to fight back from a break down in the third against his 69th-ranked Australian opponent.

Vukic led 6-5 in the second set and scored a reflex serve return winner on the line to tie the match at one set apiece.

Top seed Djokovic broke for a 3-2 lead in the third set and won with a second break after just over two hours, marking his 51st win at the tournament, where he first competed in 2006.

“It was difficult to go through him> He played amazing,” remarked Djokovic of Vukic. “He was ripping his forehand and smashing his serve.

“In the third set, I figured out the code. “I stepped it up and finished the match in style.”

Holger Rune, the seventh seed from Denmark, received a free pass into the third round because former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic of Canada withdrew due to injury.

Taylor Fritz, the 2022 champion, defeated Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 in 73 minutes, racking up 14 aces among his 27 victories.

“I needed to play well to protect my serve,” Fritz remarked. “I always feel confident coming out here.”

No. 13 Grigor Dimitrov, a 2021 semi-finalist, beat Alexandre Muller of France 7-5, 6-2.

Cameron Norrie of the United Kingdom advanced to the third round after defeating Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 6-4.

Last weekend’s Dubai champion, Ugo Humbert, the 14th seed from France, defeated American Patrick Kypson by the same margin.

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