Mason (Ohio): Serbia’s Novak Djokovic has moved a step closer to winning the only ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event that has eluded him in his career, rallying to defeat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of the Western & Southern Open here.
The reigning Wimbledon champion not only had to adjust to his opponent’s flat here on Wednesday, skidding ground strokes on a slick hard court but also needed to receive treatment for a stomach ailment during the second set.
But the Serbian started dominating the match once he found his groove from the baseline and overcame his physical issues.
Djokovic, who has lost five finals at this Masters 1000 hard-court event in Mason, a suburb of Cincinnati, ran his career record against Mannarino to 4-0 with Wednesday’s victory.
Djokovic has won all of the other eight Masters 1000 events at least once. He also has won all four Grand Slam titles (six Australian Opens, one French Open, four Wimbledons and two US Opens) and is a five-time winner of the elite season-ending ATP Finals.
“I really want to win this tournament, and I have been trying. I’m still in the tournament this year, and hopefully I can get a shot at the title,” the Serbian said afterward.
The world No. 10, who missed the latter part of the 2017 season with an elbow injury that required surgery but captured his 13th Grand Slam title last month at Wimbledon, will next take on either fifth-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov or Germany’s Mischa Zverev.
In other second-round men’s action Wednesday afternoon, Canada’s Milos Raonic defeated Turkey’s Malek Jaziri 6-3, 7-5, 13th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta topped American Bradley Klahn 6-4, 6-4, sixth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson defeated Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 and 11th-seeded Belgian David Goffin rallied to defeat Frenchman Benoit Paire 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
The Netherlands’ Robin Haase pulled off the upset of the tournament thus far, defeating German world No. 4 Alexander Zverev 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 on Wednesday.