Top ranked Novak Djokovic survived a scare to beat Luxembourg’s Gilles Mueller 7-5 7-6(3) in his North American hard-court season opener on Wednesday, to reach the third round of the Rogers Cup.
Djokovic, who struggled against Muller in his first hard-court match since his shocking third-round Wimbledon exit, fell behind 3-1 in the tie-break before he switched gears to win the next six points to seal the win in one hour, 43 minutes.
“It’s tough playing the first hardcourt match since March. It was hot and that made the ball move very fast,” said Djokovic. “It was hard to control, it was not easy to play. But I managed to stay tough.”
The three-time winner of the Canadian Masters event will next meet Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek on Friday. Stepanek advanced to the third round thanks to a 7-6, 6-4 triumph against home favourite Peter Polansky at the Aviva Centre at York University.
Querrey could not continue his form from the Wimbeldon, as he retired from his second-round clash with Belgian seventh seed David Goffin while trailing 6-4 2-1.
Japanese third seed Kei Nishikori downed American qualifier Dennis Novikov 6-4 7-5, while ninth seed John Isner fell 7-6(3) 6-7(4) 6-4 to American Ryan Harrison. Canadian fourth seed Raonic defeated Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun 6-3 6-3.
Raonic, who grew up in a Toronto suburb, played his first match since his loss to Britain’s Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final, and he soaked up the warm reception from fans.
“I don’t get to play here in Toronto very much,” Raonic said. “I can’t wait to come back out here tomorrow.”