ATP Tour

'Father' Djokovic wins opener

2014-10-29 00:07
Novak Djokovic (AFP)

Paris - World number one Novak Djokovic celebrated his return to competition since becoming a father last week with a ruthless 6-3, 6-4 second round victory over Germany's Philipp Kolschreiber at the Paris Masters on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old defending champion showed the flashes of brilliance that has made him a seven-time Grand Slam winner against a few signs of rustiness, on the way to a third round meeting against either American 13th seed John Isner or French crowd-pleaser Gael Monfils.

The Serbian, whose wife Jelena gave birth to a baby boy Stefan on November 21 is chasing a third title in Paris after 2009 and 2013, as coach Boris Becker looked on from the animated stands of the Bercy Arena.

Early breaks in both sets set the platform against Kolschreiber, who threw everything but the kitchen sink against his opponent, but found Djokovic in unflappable mood.

"It was very, very good because it's not easy, the first match and being indoors, so I'm very happy," said Djokovic.

"I still don't quite feel 100 per cent physically and the court threw up a lot of high bounces but I played a quality match and was very concentrated.

"It's incredible to be a father and I dedicate this victory to my wife Jelena and Stefan." he added.

Earlier, Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo survived a first round scare before prevailing 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5) over Canada's Vasek Pospisil.

Former world number five Robredo was evidently still feeling the effects of reaching the final of the Valencia Open on Sunday where he was beaten by Andy Murray in the longest final of the year.

Now ranked 17 in the ATP rankings, the popular 32-year-old has reached three finals this season but lost them all as a 13th career title continues to elude him.

Pospisil, who came into the week ranked 54, rained down 13 aces against Robredo's one, and led 4-2 in the third set before painfully falling at the final hurdle.

Robredo now plays Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori in the second round.

French hopes were badly dented when Shanghai Masters finalist and 15th seed Gilles Simon, crashed out in the second round against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

The world number 33 broke in the final game to outlast Simon 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in 1hr 53min.

"It's always the same, I didn't control anything," said a dejected Simon, who was making his ninth straight appearance at Bercy.

"It's a pity, because physically I felt I was fit, I had energy and I could have played a lot.

"But I was not controlling the ball the way I wanted to and I'm not happy with the way I played.

"I'm extremely disappointed because I like this tournament and I felt I could do well here." added Simon.

The match came down to a nail-biting deciding set that went with serve until Verdasco went 5-4 up and Simon was serving to stay in the match.

The right-hander from Nice faced match point at 30-40 and after a marathon rally hit long as Verdasco claimed a morale-boosting victory and pounded his chest in celebration.

Verdasco will now play either former champion and last year's finalist David Ferrer or Belgian talent David Goffin.

The 23-year-old Goffin, who lost the Basel Open final in straight sets against Roger Federer on Sunday but has two ATP wins this season, overpowered Czech Republic world number 29 Lukas Rosal 6-4, 6-3.

There was some good news for French hopes as Monfils sailed into his meeting against Isner with a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Portugal's Joao Sousa while Jeremy Chardy, who reached his second career semi-final at Valencia last week, edged compatriot and qualifier Kenny De Schepper 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/4).

"We had good rallies, it was a good fight for the whole match, because neither of us wanted to give up, and the two sets were in a tiebreaker, and I'm happy I won them." added world number 30 Chardy.

Chardy's reward is a second round match against Swiss legend Federer who has a bye after winning his sixth Basel crown on Sunday and 82nd ATP tournament.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  paris masters  |  novak djokovic  |  tennis

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