Djokovic plays first match in U.S. since 2021; loses in doubles

The Serb returned to the country after 2 years, missing events because of COVID-19 vaccine restrictions

August 16, 2023 09:08 am | Updated 09:08 am IST - Ohio

File picture of Novak Djokovic

File picture of Novak Djokovic | Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Novak Djokovic fell in his first match in the United States since 2021, losing in doubles Tuesday in the Western and Southern Open.

Djokovic and Nikola Cacic lost 6-4, 6-2 to Jamie Murray and Michael Venus in the Serbian star's return to the country after missing events because of COVID-19 vaccine restrictions.

Djokovic was playing his first competitive match since falling to top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

The winner of a record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Djokovic is set to open singles play Wednesday night against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Alcaraz faced Australian qualifier Jordan Thompson in a late match. The defending U.S. Open champion was in position to become the first ATP player to reach 50 wins this season.

In women's play, former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens reached the third round for the first time since 2019 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over sixth-seeded defending tournament champion Caroline Garcia.

Stephens, who won in New York in 2017, improved to 2-8 in her last 10 matches against top-10 players. Both of the wins have been against Garcia.

Fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur, in her first match since losing the Wimbledon final, overcame a 5-1 deficit in the third set to top Anhelina Kalinina 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (2).

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