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Novak Djokovic falls in Cincy doubles in 1st U.S. match since 2021

Novak Djokovic fell in his first match in the United States since 2021, losing in doubles Tuesday in the Western & Southern Open.

Djokovic and Nikola Cacic lost 6-4, 6-2 to Jamie Murray and Michael Venus in the Serbian star’s return to the country after missing events due to COVID-19 vaccine restrictions.

Djokovic was playing his first competitive match since falling to top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

The winner of a record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Djokovic was set to open singles play Wednesday night versus Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Alcaraz defeated Australian qualifier Jordan Thompson 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the late match.

The defending US Open champion became the first ATP player to reach 50 wins this season.

In women’s play, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens reached the third round for the first time since 2019 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 triumph over sixth-seeded defending tournament champion Caroline Garcia.

Stephens, who won in New York in 2017, improved to 2-8 in her past 10 matches versus top-10 players. Both of the wins have been against Garcia.

Fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur, in her first match since losing the Wimbledon final, overcame a 5-1 deficit in the third set to top Anhelina Kalinina 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (2).

And in the women’s nightcap, Elise Mertens defeated No. 15 Madison Keys, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Steve Carr

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