‘My game is going in the right direction,’ declares Novak Djokovic as he racks up another win
Novak Djokovic says he is confident his game is ‘going in the right direction’ after he continued his comeback from a shoulder injury by beating Go Soeda at the Japan Open.
The world number one arrived in Tokyo having not played since the US Open, where he retired during his fourth-round contest with Stan Wawrinka.
Djokovic, though, maintained his momentum with a 6-3 7-5 win over Soeda to progress to the quarter-finals.
“(He) made me work for my win today and the atmosphere was really good on the court. I enjoyed it,” Djokovic said, quoted by the ATP Tour website.
“I probably played even on a higher level than the first round. So the game is going in the right direction, that’s for sure.”
Top seed Djokovic will go on to meet Lucas Pouille in the last eight after the French fifth seed defeated Japan number two Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1 6-2.
Amercian Reilly Opelka is also through to the quarter-finals after battling to a 7-6 (4) 7-6 (2) win over France’s Gilles Simon.
Qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama came from behind to beat Radu Albot 6-7 (2) 6-3 6-4 and make sure of home representation in the last eight.
Elsewhere in Wednesday’s first-round matches, third seed David Goffin recovered to defeat Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 1-6 7-6 (8) 6-0.
Number eight seed Alex De Minaur, though, is out after the Australian was beaten 6-3 6-7 (6) 7-6 (8) by South Africa’s Lloyd George.
At the China Open, Andy Murray claimed his first back-to-back Tour singles wins since undergoing hip surgery in January with a 7-6 (6) 6-7 (4) 6-1 victory over fellow Briton Cameron Norrie, the match lasting almost three hours.
Murray, the two-time former Wimbledon champion, will next play top seed Dominic Thiem.
The Austrian world number five defeated Chinese wild card Zhizhen Zhang 6-3 6-3.
World number nine Karen Khachanov fought past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy to secure his quarter-final place with a 7-6 (0) 7-6 (5) victory.
Italy’s Fabio Fognini defeated Russian Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-4, saving 10 of the 12 break points he faced.
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