Defending champion Djokovic shows no signs of rust in Cincinnati

Defending champion Djokovic shows no signs of rust in Cincinnati

The world No. 1 took out Sam Querrey on Tuesday in his first match since triumphing at Wimbledon.

In his first match since winning his fifth Wimbledon crown in July, Novak Djokovic picked up where he left off with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Sam Querrey in the second round of Cincinnati on Tuesday.

"The fact that I'm the reigning champion, it wasn't affecting so much neither positively or negatively, or didn't feel any added pressure or anything like that," Djokovic said. "It was just excitement to be back on the court competing, as it has been a while since the Wimbledon finals.

"But at the same time, I had the nervous start, because, I mean, I didn't play a match for four weeks, I think. So it took me a little bit of time to really adjust, to also hit big serve that was coming sometimes more than 135 miles an hour. I made three double faults in the opening game—didn't have the greatest of starts."

It was a rematch of the 2016 Wimbledon third-round encounter, which Querrey won in four sets en route to his quarterfinal showing, derailing Djokovic’s quest for his fifth straight Grand Slam.

The 31-year-old American, who had pulled out of the French Open with an abdominal injury, was coming off a strong grass-court swing, having reached the final in Eastbourne and Wimbledon quarterfinals, climbing 26 spots to No. 39 in the rankings. He’s currently ranked No. 45.

Djokokic is bidding for his second Cincinnati title. (Getty Images)

Djokovic, who won his first Cincinnati title in 2018 to become the first player to claim a Career Golden Masters (winning all nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments), skipped last week’s Rogers Cup in Montreal, which world No. 2 Rafael Nadal won.

In their 11th meeting on Tuesday, the American led the way early, taking a 2-0 lead as the defending champion committed three double faults in his opening service game. It didn’t take long for the 16-time Grand Slam champion to find his rhythm, breaking the 10-time ATP titlist twice to pocket the first set. He cruised in the second set. 

“It was a tricky match, a quality and opponent and a big challenge, but I’m happy to be tested right from the start," Djokovic said. "Hopefully the next performance will be even better.”

Querrey had plenty of chances, but only converted one of the five break points he earned. Djokovic fired 15 aces to Querrey’s 9, and won 31 of 37 first-serve points. The world No. 1 awaits the winner of the match between John Isner and Pablo Carreno Busta.