Djokovic buoyed by Tokyo progress
World number one Novak Djokovic will face Lucas Pouille in the last eight in Tokyo after getting past Go Soeda.
Novak Djokovic said there were “not too many negatives” from a second-round victory over Go Soeda in the Japan Open on Wednesday.
The world number one, playing in his first tournament since retiring from the US Open with a shoulder injury, moved into the quarter-finals with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of wildcard Soeda.
Veteran outsider Soeda put up a fight in his homeland, but Djokovic broke four times and won 81 per cent of points behind his first serve to set up an encounter with Lucas Pouille in Tokyo.
Djokovic was broken when serving for the match with a 5-3 lead and Soeda saved three match points before being consigned to defeat.
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The top seed said: “I think I played a pretty good tennis match. From the baseline, I was solid, aggressive when I needed to be and taking the ball early.
“I served very well until that game when I was serving for the match at 5-3. I made some double faults, I missed all my first serves, so I didn’t serve that well that game, allowing him to break back and come back to the match,
“But there were not too many negatives today, because I had chances constantly. I had match points at 5-4, but he just came up with some very good shots and fought hard and that’s why we give him credit. But from my side, I’m really pleased.”
Pouille eased to a 6-1 6-2 victory over another Japanese contender in the form of Yoshihito Nishioka.
Reilly Opelka saw the back of Gilles Simon 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2), while Yasutaka Uchiyama also progressed to the last eight in his homeland.
David Goffin, John Millman and Lloyd Harris were first-round winners on day three.