Tennis

Return of the Djoker and the Stanimal

Marked improvement: Novak Djokovic dropped serve just once after remodelling his service action to ease the pressure on his elbow

Marked improvement: Novak Djokovic dropped serve just once after remodelling his service action to ease the pressure on his elbow   | Photo Credit: GREG WOOD

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The Serbian breezes past Young while the Swiss puts out Berankis in four; Maria no match for Sharapova

Roger Federer picked up where he left off at the Australian Open on a day when Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic helped ensure there were all kinds of comebacks.

Defending champion Federer beat Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a night match, his first on Rod Laver Arena since clinching a career-reviving title here last year.

Six-time champion Djokovic and 2014 Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka earlier made successful returns from injury layoffs with victories in their first-round matches since Wimbledon.

Sharapova barely missed a beat in her first match in Melbourne since a failed doping test here in 2016 resulted in a 15-month ban from tennis.

The five-time Major winner recovered from an early break in the second set and closed out her 6-1, 6-4 victory over Tatjana Maria with an ace.

Djokovic tweaked his service motion while recovering from an injured right elbow, and used it to good effect in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Donald Young.

Djokovic lost in the second round here last year, but won five of the previous six Australian Open titles.

“Obviously I wanted to start with the right intensity, which I have,” Djokovic said. “I played perfect tennis, like I never stopped.”

Wawrinka, who was six months out after surgery on his left knee, beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(2).

No. 4 Alexander Zverev, No. 5 Dominic Thiem, No. 7 David Goffin, No. 19 Tomas Berdych advanced, but No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut lost to Fernando Verdasco and former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic lost to Lukas Lacko.

No. 13 Sam Querrey restored some order for the U.S. men with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Feliciano Lopez.

Madison Keys reversed a trend, becoming the only one of the four American women who contested the U.S. Open semifinals four months ago to reach the second round in Australia.

Top-ranked Simona Halep had to save set points at 5-2 down in the first set, and badly twisted her left ankle early in the second, before beating teenage wild-card entry Destanee Aiava 7-6(5), 6-1.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 5:15:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/return-of-the-djoker-and-the-stanimal/article22451694.ece

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