Djokovic, Wawrinka With Successful Returns To Melbourne

MELBOURNE, January 16, 2018

Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic played his first competitive match in over six months when he took on lefthander Donald Young from the United States on Margaret Court Arena on Tuesday.

Djokovic has been out of action since retiring with an elbow injury in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last year, but is always a threat at his most successful Grand Slam. The 30-year-old Serbian was in control of the encounter, capitalized on six of his 25 break point chances to seal a  6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory in one hour and 51 minutes.

Next up for Djokovic will be Gael Monfils of France. Last year, Djokovic fell in the Australian Open second round to wild card Denis Istomin in one of the upsets of the 2017 season. It was Djokovic’s earliest loss at a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2008.

Another former champion, No. 9 seed Stan Wawrinka, also returned to action, taking on Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis on Hisense Arena. Like Djokovic, Wawrinka has been sidelined since Wimbledon and has undergone knee surgery in his absence from the Tour. The 32-year-old Swiss, who has never lost his opening match in Melbourne, ensured a successful return to the Happy Slam with a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 win.

Wawrinka gained four points less than his opponent,  won just as many of break points as Berankis – four each – and jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth-set tie-break to prevail after two hours and 47 minutes. The Swiss will next meet US-American Tennys Sandgren.