Djokovic beats Shapovalov, leads Serbia into ATP Cup semis

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SYDNEY — Novak Djokovic had an almost full house on his side at Ken Rosewell Arena, and felt like he needed to be a responsible host for his guests.

There was a delay in the 10th game of the third set of his ATP Cup quarterfinal match against Denis Shapovalov on Friday when a spectator needed medical attention from paramedics and Djokovic, despite being down 0-30 while serving for the match, took a bottle of water over toward the stadium seating and asked the crowd to pass it along.

He got back level at 30-30 in that game before Shapovalov broke to level the set at 5-5. The Canadian saved a breakpoint in the next game but after it went to a tiebreaker following 2 1/2 hours, Djokovic seized control by winning the first five points and then finished off a comeback 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) .

Dusan Lajovic had earlier beaten Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-2 and so Djokovic’s win sealed the quarterfinal ahead of the doubles match, giving Serbia a spot in the semifinals against Russia.

“That was so close, it could have gone in a different way easily. (Shapovalov) was playing terrific tennis,” Djokovic said. “It felt, not a little bit, fully like I’m playing at home.”

Djokovic, who has won a record seven Australian Open men’s singles titles, was playing in Sydney for the first time in a decade after going 3-0 in singles in the ATP Cup group stage in Brisbane.

“I’m mean, Brisbane we had amazing support – but this has taken it to a different level,” Djokovic said. “All the Serbian people came out today.”

The temperature topped topped 33 Celsius (91 F) during the match, and it was hazy outside with a lack of breeze, making the conditions inside the arena stifling.

Djokovic endured it all to extend his record to 5-0 against Shapovalov. The constant chants and even a burst of trumpet from the flag-waving Serbian fans certainly helped him, he said. The 16-major winner reveled in the team environment, with his teammates and coaches on the side of the court, and the echo of “Nole, Nole, Nole” going around the stadium.

Shapovalov complained about the noise made as he served a double-fault to fall behind 4-0 in the tiebreaker, and the umpire asked the crowd to keep quiet during the service motion.

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.