Djokovic cruises at Rogers Cup ahead of US Open

Top-seed, a three-time winner here, sees off Bellucci; Serena also progresses with a three-set win.

    Djokovic cruises at Rogers Cup ahead of US Open
    Djokovic has lost just three times this year [Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports]

    World number one Novak Djokovic kicked off his bid for a fourth Canadian crown with a 6-3 7-6 second-round win over a stubborn Thomaz Bellucci at the Rogers Cup.

    Bellucci, with just one win in five visits to Canada and coming off a first-round loss at Washington, appeared to be the perfect opponent for Djokovic to launch his buildup to the US Open but provided a stiff test for the Serb.

    The top-seed in Canada for the fifth straight year, Djokovic saved all three break points he faced in a tight opening set.

    The Serb, who narrowly missed out on a fourth Canada title last year after losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final, also saved two break points in the second as the set went to a tie break, which he quickly took control of and took 7-4 to register his 250th world tour Masters 1000 match win.

    Only three players have beaten Djokovic in 2015 - Ivo Karlovic, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.

    For the second straight night, late action was suspended at the Rogers Cup.

    World number three Andy Murray had his match with Tommy Robredo postponed with the duel even at 4-4 in the first set.

    In first-round action, Tsonga opened his title defense with a 6-4 6-4 win over Croatian teenager Borna Coric in a rain-interrupted match that began on Monday.

    Serena is a three-time champion on the Toronto hardcourts [Getty Images]

    Elsewhere, Serena Williams shook off some hard-court rust before rolling to a 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 win over Italy's Flavia Pennetta.

    Meanwhile, the home crowd failed to fire up local favourite Eugenie Bouchard who slumped to another first-round exit.

    Williams, playing her first match of the North American hard-court swing after pulling out at Stanford last week with a sore right elbow, endured a ragged opening set in which she was broken four times and fired four double faults.

    But the 33-year-old American, a three-time champion on the Toronto hardcourts, eventually found her rhythm in the second round match.

    While all four grand slam titles are already in her possession, a successful defence of her US Open crown next month would put Williams in an exclusive club along with Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf as the only women to have swept all four in a single season.

    While Williams continues to dominate the game, the once-bright star of Canadian Bouchard lost even more of its lustre with a 6-0 5-7 6-2 loss to Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic in the first round.

    Hailed as the new face of women's tennis just 12 months ago, Bouchard's downward spiral shows no signs of coming to a halt as the 21-year-old fell at the first hurdle for the eighth time in 10 tournaments.

    Two former world number ones Jelena Jankovic and Victoria Azarenka made smooth passage to the second round with straight sets wins.

    Twice Australian Open champion Azarenka, who withdrew from an event in Washington with a sore shoulder, opened with a 6-1 6-4 win over Ukraine's Elina Svitova while Jankovic stopped Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 7-6(4) 6-2.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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