Djokovic overpowers Pouille to reach Japan Open semifinals

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TOKYO — Showing no lingering effects of a shoulder injury, Novak Djokovic coasted into the semifinals of the Japan Open on Friday with a straight-sets win over Lucas Pouille.

Top-ranked Djokovic, who is attempting to win a title on his tournament debut for the 10th time, needed just 50 minutes at Ariake Colosseum to dispatch the fifth-seeded Pouille 6-1, 6-2 and set up a semifinal with either Hyeon Chung or David Goffin, who won here in 2017.

Djokovic got off to a strong start, winning the first game with a powerful ace, one of five in the first set.

He broke Pouille in the next game to take a 2-0 lead and went up 5-1 after another break before serving to win the first set in just 20 minutes.

The second set was more of the same with Djokovic breaking Pouille in the first game and taking a 4-1 lead before Pouille won his first game of the set.

Pouille showed a brief sign of life by breaking Djokovic to make it 4-2 but that was as close as he would get. Djokovic broke in the next game and then served out to win with a powerful forehand to the corner.

Djokovic retired with a left-shoulder injury during his fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka at the U.S. Open.

In his first competitive match since facing Wawrinka, Djokovic was knocked out of the doubles with Filip Krajinovic on Monday but beat Alexei Popyrin in the first round and Japanese wild card entry Go Soeda in the second round.

In other matches, Reilly Opelka beat Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3, 6-3 and will face John Millman in the semifinals. Millman overpowered Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-0.

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.