Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot to Sam Querrey of the United States during Day 4 of the Western and Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 13, 2019 in Mason, Ohio. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

CINCINNATI, – Novak Djokovic shook off a shaky first game to launch his title defense at the ATP Cincinnati Masters with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Sam Querrey on Tuesday.

The Serb world number one and top seed double-faulted three times to lose his opening service game before quickly finding his rhythm.

A break back five games later and another break of Querrey to seal the opening set put Djokovic back in his element.

“I ended the match well even if the start was nervy,” said Djokovic, who was playing for the first time since beating Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final last month.

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“Sam was feeling comfortable on the court at the start and dictating. It was tough facing his big serve.

“I’m just pleased with this challenge in quick conditions, I’m glad I overcame it.

“I’m hoping for a better performance in the next round.”

Federer was also due back on court for the first time since Wimbledon, taking on Juan Ignacio Londero in a second-round match.

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In early action, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka won a first-round battle as he eliminated 2017 Cincinnati champion Grigor Dimitrov 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

Under leaden skies after an overnight thunderstorm, Dimitrov broke in the 12th game of the first set to take the lead.

The 33-year-old Swiss fought back with the only break in the second set.

Wawrinka then raced into a 5-1 lead in the final set but wasted two match points in the eighth game and was broken twice while serving for victory.

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Wawrinka had to hold off his Bulgarian opponent in the final-set tiebreaker before squeezing through in more than two and a half hours with his 10th ace.

The defeat left Dimitrov with just two victories out of six matches played since Roland Garros and four consecutive losses to Wawrinka, including last week’s opening round in Montreal. (AFP)



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