Djokovic Triumphs in Return to American Soil, Cincinnati Open Opponent Forced to Withdraw

In a noteworthy victory, Novak Djokovic secured his first singles match win on American turf since 2021 at the Western & Southern Open, as his rival Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was compelled to retire during their second-round clash. The match, which saw Djokovic take the initial set 6-4 on Wednesday, came to an abrupt end when Davidovich Fokina, who had previously taken a medical pause in the first set, withdrew due to a back injury.

With this triumph, Djokovic advances to the third round to face fellow 36-year-old Gaël Monfils from France. The Serbian tennis sensation, gearing up for the US Open, acknowledged Monfils' remarkable performance, humorously labeling their upcoming match as a "duel of the veterans."

Djokovic's return to US soil is particularly significant as he had been unable to enter the country for the past two years due to his unvaccinated status against Covid-19. However, this year's relaxation of vaccine requirements for non-US travelers permitted his participation in the Cincinnati tournament. Prior to this victory, Djokovic's last appearance on American courts was at the 2021 US Open, where he faced defeat against Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Reflecting on his prolonged absence from US tournaments, Djokovic expressed contentment with his decision, emphasizing his excitement about making a comeback. Despite his win, Djokovic displayed empathy towards his opponent's retirement, hoping for Davidovich Fokina's swift recovery from the lower back injury that forced him to withdraw.

As Djokovic progresses in the tournament, his quest for a third title at the Western & Southern Open is evident. His prior victory in 2020, during the tournament's relocation to New York City amidst the pandemic, adds to the anticipation surrounding his current campaign.