- 01 Oct 2019
Novak Djokovic was pleased to report his shoulder was feeling fine as he returned to action with a win at the Japan Open on Tuesday.
World number one Djokovic had not played since retiring against Stan Wawrinka in the last 16 at the US Open last month, with his Flushing Meadows title defence ended by pain in his shoulder.
But the Serbian was back on the court in Tokyo this week and eased past qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-4 6-2 in the first round.
“The shoulder is good. I have not felt anything in the previous days, including today in the match,” said Djokovic, who faces veteran home favourite Go Soeda next.
“So I am very pleased to say that and to feel healthy.”
He added: “I thought from really the beginning to the end, I played really well and on a consistent, high level and good intensity.”
— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) October 1, 2019
But while Djokovic was comfortable, he was the only seed to progress at the ATP 500 tournament on Tuesday.
Japanese stars Taro Daniel and Yasutaka Uchiyama upset Borna Coric and 2015 finalist Benoit Paire respectively, while American Taylor Fritz lost to compatriot Reilly Opelka.
Daniel clinched a dramatic win over Coric in a final-set tie-break and said: “I knew the opponent was going to be more nervous than me. Obviously he’s like, ‘I have to win, he’s a wild card’.
“I was just like, ‘Keep going, try to not be passive, not be too aggressive, but just try and find that balance, not make any mistakes’. He ended up making more mistakes than I did.”
Gilles Simon advanced to set up a clash with Opelka, while Radu Albot also went through and will play Uchiyama next.
Denis Shapovalov defeated Miomir Kecmanovic, as Jordan Thompson saw off Juan Ignacio Londero.