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By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, September 24, 2022


Novak Djokovic won five of 12 games at love dismissing Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-3 in his first match since capturing his 21st major title at Wimbledon.

Photo credit: Getty

During his late-summer recess from the Tour, Novak Djokovic had no time for slacking.

The Wimbledon champion spent his sabbatical fine-tuning his game.

Returning to action today, a recharged Djokovic shredded US Open semifinalist Frances Tiafoe with a seven-game surge charging to a 6-1, 6-3 sweep at the O2 Arena in London.

It was Djokovic's first match since he defeated Nick Kyrgios to capture his 21st major crown at Wimbledon. Djokovic, who could not enter North America for the US Open Series or US Open due to his unvaccinated status, picked up right where he left off at SW19.

It was a near-flawless performance from the former world No. 1 who staked Team Europe to a 6-4 lead over Team World.

"I haven't played in a few months—the last match was the finals of Wimbledon in this city down the road," Djokovic said in his on-court interview afterward. "I'm really glad to continue the run. Pretty decent match from my side, I have to stay, I was seeing the ball very well no doubt about it. 

"I haven't done many things wrong today and I couldn't be happier  with the return to the Tour. Winning for the team of course, after a long day yesterday, a very emotional day. It wasn't easy to restart the engines and step out on the court and do what you do in the best possible way. So I'm just very pleased with the performance and I'm glad brought another two points to the team."

Sharp serving from the start saw Djokovic slam three aces in stamping a pair of love holds.

The former world No. 1 fought off a jamming body serve earning another break point in the sixth game. Djokovic stretched Tiafoe with one forehand pass then swooped in for a second clean forehand breaking again for 5-1.

Twenty-two minutes into the match, Djokovic leaned low and lashed a bullet backhand winner down the line wrapping up a convincing opening set. Commanding on serve, Djokovic served 88 percent, pumped four aces and did not permit a single point on serve stamping four love holds in the set.

About the only mis-step Djokovic made was in game three of the second set when his running forehand tweener attempt sputtered. Tiafoe hit a massive second serve and smacked a finishing forehand that helped him snap a slide of  seven straight games as he held for 1-2 in the second set.

Djokovic burst through four of the final six games to seal an impressive return.


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