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Djokovic Into Cincinnati Third Round, Serena Out, Andy Murray Out Of U.S. Open Singles

By Ricky Dimon

Novak Djokovic started slow when he trailed Sam Querrey by a break early in the first set, but the world No. 1 stormed back for a 7-5, 6-1 victory in round two of the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday. Djokovic fired 15 aces–six more than the big-serving Querrey–while advancing in one hour and 18 minutes.

The top-seeded Serb is the first man through to the last 16 in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, among the first-round winners on Tuesday were Denis Shapovalov, Stan Wawrinka, Daniil Medvedev, Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin, and Frances Tiafoe.

For Andy Murray, it’s back to focusing on doubles. The 32-year-old Scot lost his singles comeback match 6-4, 6-4 to Richard Gasquet on Monday. He promptly announced that he will not play singles at the upcoming U.S. Open, although he is still considering a wild cad into Winston-Salem.

“We were hoping to maybe hold a wild card until a little bit closer to the time to see how I feel and get some matches hopefully and a bit of practice, “ Murray explained. “[It was] a decision I made with my team. I didn’t want to take a wild card today because I just didn’t know how I was going to feel after a match. I felt like I wanted to be fair for me to maybe try and get a couple of matches in before making a decision like that.

“If I would have taken the wild card and then not played, then I would have been getting loads of questions about my hip and, ‘Why has he turned it down? Is something wrong? What’s the problem?’” Murray said. “It was more likely that I was not going to [play], because although I did fine in the match today, physically, my legs felt quite heavy at the end of the match and that’s probably not going to change a whole lot in a couple of weeks.”

As for the rest of this week, Wawrinka–a three-set winner over Grigor Dimitrov–will continue his campaign against Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.  Their only previous meeting came three years ago in Chennai, where Wawrinka cruised 6-3, 6-2. Rublev is much different player now at 21 years old and he is back in the top 70 after missing a lot of time over the past year due to injuries. The Russian finished runner-up to Nikoloz Basilashvili on the red clay of Hamburg earlier this summer and avenged that loss by prevailing 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2 in round one.  

Another must-watch matchup pits Karen Khachanov against Nick Kyrgios.

On the women’s side, Serena Williams unsurprisingly withdrew on Tuesday night. She retired from the Rogers Cup final against Bianca Andreescu in the first set due to a back injury.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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