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Djokovic defeats Andujar in Tel Aviv opener
Djokovic defeats Andujar in Tel Aviv opener

Tel Aviv, Oct 1 (TIWN) The 88-time tour-level titlist Novak Djokovic cruised past Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Tel Aviv Watergen Open here on Thursday.

"Fantastic atmosphere here tonight, thank you very much," Djokovic said in his on-court interview. "I like the court, it's very intimate and it's very loud. The crowd here is very passionate about the sport, about tennis and I'm really, really happy to be here and to perform here in front of you, so thank you for your support."

In his first match back at the Laver Cup, Djokovic performed at a similarly high level in a straight-sets victory against US Open semifinalist Frances Tiafoe, before suffering an upset loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Serbian showed no ill effects from that defeat in Israel.

Djokovic broke Andujar's serve four times and did not face a break point to triumph after one hour and 27 minutes. He will next play Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who eliminated Israeli qualifier Edan Leshem 6-3, 6-2 behind nine aces and three service breaks.

Djokovic last competed in Israel in 2006 in a Davis Cup tie when he was a teenager. But the 35-year-old looked at home on the indoor hard court, answering all of the questions Andujar posed without problem.

"The first match started off in a perfect way for me. I won seven games in a row and we were fighting in that eighth game for 15 minutes I think," Djokovic said of a game that actually lasted about 20 minutes. "It was one of the longest games I've ever played in my life and I've played many, many games in my life. But credit to Pablo for fighting and playing a great match as well."

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