Novak Djokovic kicked off his return to tennis with a tight Monday win at the “Cincinnati” Masters while second seed Dominic Thiem may have paid the price for an exuberant exhibition season. 

World No. 1 Djokovic edged past Ricardas Berankis 7-6(2), 6-4 but was treated for the sore neck which had forced him to drop out of doubles 24 hours earlier.

He came back from a break down three times before finally advancing with eight aces and seven double-faults. He lost serve three times to four for his Lithuanian opponent.

Djokovic will play in the third round against American Tennys Sandgren.

It was a massively disappointing day for Thiem, the three-time Grand Slam finalist who played more than a dozen exhibition matches at various points in Europe over the five-month tennis pause due to COVID-19.

The Austrian was unable to mount an attack as he was overwhelmed 6-2, 6-1 in 63 minutes by Serb Filip Krajinovic.

Thiem was broken four times on the way to defeat; Karjinovic did not lose a point on second serve, going 12 for 12 in the rout.,

Krajinovic was more than pleased: “I think this is officially my first top 10 win in my career,” the No. 32 said “I started really well today, was aggressive.

“I’m very happy to be in the third round. I don’t think Thiem was playing good tennis today, but I deserved to win. Everything went my way.”


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