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Djokovic shrugs off injury to win NY opener

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 23: Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot to Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania during the Western & Southern Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 24, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

World number one Novak Djokovic shook off neck pain to beat Ricardas Berankis 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 on Monday to reach the third round of the Western & Southern Open.

The Serb star had pulled out of doubles on Sunday with pain in his neck, and he had treatment during the match for a problem that seemed to bother him when he looked up at his service toss.

Twice down a break in the second set he was able to immediately break back both times, and he let out a roar when he broke Lithuania’s Berankis for a 5-4 lead before calmly serving out the match.

In the round of 16 on Tuesday, Djokovic will face American Tennys Sandgren, a 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) winner over 15th-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in this tournament moved from Cincinnati to New York and the same quarantine bubble that will house the US Open starting on August 31.

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