Novak Djoković Cruises Past Alexei Popyrin for the Second Round in Tokyo

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Novak Djoković spent less than an hour and a half on the court and secured the second round, justifying the role of a big favourite against the qualifier and 94th player in the world.

Popyrin struggled in all his service games in the first set, and Novak finally broke him in the night game, after capitalizing on the fifth break ball. The world’s best player went on to finish the first set with his service.

In the second set, Djoković started to feel more comfortable on the court and broke Popyrin twice to take a 5-2 lead before coming in to serve for the match. Up until 2-1 for Popyrin in the second set it was a close contest, but then the Japanese asked for a medical timeout. After that, Djoković found his groove and completely took over the match.

The last game of the match went back and forth, with Novak making two double faults and a couple of unforced errors. He didn’t allow for a break and won the set 6-2.

Djoković had 30 winners and 12 unforced errors, which are fantastic numbers considering that he’s still trying to find his A-game, dropping only 12 points on serve and never facing a breakpoint.

Popyrin was a noteworthy rival in the first set when he was going for risky shots to avoid longer rallies and to give Novak the control in the exchanges. However, Novak managed to find his groove at the end of the first set and was just too much to handle for the Japanese player.

Novak will face Go Soeda in the second round, who eliminated German Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round after a great battle in three sets (4:6, 7:6 (7:4), 6:3).

The Serbian player’s first match was actually yesterday when he lost alongside Filip Krajinović in a doubles competition. The Serbian tandem lost in the first round to the Brazilian-Croatian combination of Bruno Soares and Mate Pavić.

 

The 32-year old Serb decided to play Tokyo in order to gain insight into the speed of the court at which the Olympic Games will be played next year.

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Stefan Nedeljkovic
Hi, I’m Stefan, and I live for sports. No… I’m serious, I literally live for sports. I grew up within a family unit where my mom was an avid tennis player, my father played football, and my uncles and aunts (all who visited us fairly regularly) played basketball and table tennis at a competitive level. So when we weren’t playing sports, we were watching it. And when we weren’t watching sports, we were listening to it on the radio in the car. So sports have always been a part of the fabric of not only my childhood, but also my adult life too. Personally, I can play most sports. But my favorite is tennis. Here at The Sporty, I’ll be using my all-rounder sports skills to bring you the latest and greatest from the world of sports. But I will also do my best to cover as much tennis related news as I can. So that’s me in a nutshell - game, set and match.