Cincinnati Masters: Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka struggle; Nadal wins
World number one Novak Djokovic and Britain's Andy Murray were both handed tough examinations en route to the third round of the Cincinnati Masters
Cincinnati: World number one Novak Djokovic and Britain's Andy Murray were both handed tough examinations en route to the third round of the Cincinnati Masters.
Novak Djokovic reacts during a rain delay in his match. Pic/AFP
Wimbledon champion Djokovic, aiming for a historic career grand slam of all nine ATP 1000 Masters titles, had to contend not only with being broken but also some trick shots from France's Benoit Paire, who ultimately succumbed to a 7-5, 6-2 defeat.
A relieved-looking Djokovic told Sky Sports 3: "He's an entertaining player, a very nice guy off court. We practice a few times and this is the first time we have played in an official match. I expected the unexpected."
Djokovic will play David Goffin in the next round, while World No 2 Murray is up against Grigor Dimitrov after resisting a spirited challenge from veteran hardcourt specialist Mardy Fish.
The 33-year-old American, who will retire after the US Open, broke Murray to take a 4-3 lead in the second set but could not hold out and lost 6-4, 7-6 (7/1).
Coric almost stuns Stan
Stan Wawrinka was given a major scare by World No 38 Borna Coric, who bagged the first set 6-3 on centre court. The Swiss then dug deep, hitting 10 aces over the next two sets to clinch the match 3-6, 7-6, (7/3), 6-3 in nearly two and a half hours.
Rafael Nadal was made to work hard for his 6-3, 6-4 win over Jeremy Chardy, finally getting past the Frenchman by converting his fifth match point.