Novak Djokovic got off to a nervous start to beat Sam Querrey 7-5 6-1 at the Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday as the world’s number one for the first time since defeating Roger Federer in last month’s epic Wimbledon final Competition returned.
Seven-time Cincinnati champion Federer, who is also playing his first match since Wimbledon, was back on track faster and took just 61 minutes to beat Juan Londero 6-3 6-4 in his night game, which was interrupted in the second set because of rain.
Defending champion Djokovic fired his 15th ace at the match point to defeat Querrey, but his serve had been a problem earlier in the second round.
“I made three double mistakes in my opening game and lost the break. I was pretty nervous at the beginning, ”he said after falling 2-0 against the American.
“I am really happy to master such a challenge and to get myself going.”
Djokovic, who beat Federer in a classic five-set fight at Wimbledon in July, said he needed time to recover from the mental strain of that game.
“That was one of the most epic matches I’ve played in and probably the most challenging mentally,” he said.
“So it really took me some time to recharge my batteries, especially in my head. My body was fine. ”
Djokovic will face either John Isner or Pablo Carreno Busta in the next round, with a possible quarter-final duel with Australian Nick Kyrgios.
Federer meets Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka or Andrey Rublev in the third round.
Wawrinka defeated the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 5-7 6-4 7-6 (4) in a roller coaster first round game.
Dimitrov fought his way back to equalize 5: 5 after a double break in the playoff and after Wawrinka broke again, Dimitrov forced the tiebreak.
The Swiss took the 4-0 lead but Dimitrov recovered once more before Wawrinka finished the game with an ace.
The American Frances Tiafoe defeated the French Gael Monfils 7: 6 (7) 6: 3 and the Canadian Denis Shapovalov came from behind to defeat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 2: 6, 6: 3, 6: 2.