Novak Djokovic kicked off his campaign at the Western & Southern Open against Adrian Mannarino. The Serb is a five-time finalist in Cincinnati and is looking to win the title to complete a Golden Masters. The former world number one came from behind to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 over Mannarino to set up a showdown with defending champion Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.
Mannarino Takes Opener
The theme throughout the set was Djokovic getting tested in his service games. Djokovic saved break point to open the match and saved two more in his third service game. Eventually, the Serb cracked. His backhand wasn't firing as it normally has, hitting more errors from that wing compared to his forehand side.
A lovely aggressive move from Mannarino saw him come into the net at 30-30 to finish the point off with a drop volley winner. Djokovic knocked a forehand into the net to give the break and the lead to the Frenchman.
Immediately after breaking, the 30-year-old Frenchman found himself behind 0-30 after two unforced errors. He eventually clawed back and wonderfully finished off the game after with a flick forehand pass after the two exchanged drop shots.
Down 15-30, Mannarino found a way to close out the set. Two aces in the next three points helped him take the opening set 6-4.
Djokovic Comes Roaring Back
Despite the deficit, the 31-year-old is known for coming back from these kinds of deficits. After holding to start the set, he broke the Frenchman's serve at the second time of asking after Mannarino knocked a forehand into the net.
Djokovic would immediately concede the break back though after the world number 28 clawed back from 40-15 down and then hit a wonderfully angled forehand cross-court winner. The following game found another break of serve with Djokovic claiming it once again to move ahead.
After the seventh game, Djokovic called for the trainer, but it was not disclosed to chair umpire Fergus Murphy why. Djokovic went on to break again to capture the set 6-2.
Djokovic Completes Comeback
Once again, Djokovic was facing a break point in his opening service game. Just like the opening set, the Serb was able to knock it off the board with a timely serve. He held to open the set and broke Mannarino right away as he was looking a little better after that medical timeout.
During that medical timeout, Djokovic was given pills by the trainer to deal with acid. Despite not feeling well, he found himself two breaks of serve up as Mannarino's level dipped severely from the opening set and change. The Serb capped off the match 6-1.