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Novak Djokovic makes winning return to ATP action in Tel Aviv | tennis news

TEL AVIV: Novak Djokovic, who is playing a singles tournament for the first time since winning Wimbledon in July, reached the Tel Aviv quarterfinals on Thursday with a win over Spain’s Pablo Andujar.
Djokovic took a 6-0, 6-3 victory over his 115th-ranked opponent in 86 minutes, shooting down 30 winners and breaking Andujar four times.
It was the fewest games Djokovic has lost in a match this season.
He was always in control against his Spanish rival, whom he has now beaten three times, and took control of the game by winning the first seven matches.
“The first game started in a perfect way for me,” said Djokovic, who last played in Israel as a teenager in a Davis Cup tie 16 years ago.

“I won seven games in a row and we fought in that eighth game (which took over 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 game.”
Former world number one Djokovic has not played a single event since taking his seventh Wimbledon title ten weeks ago after his refusal to get vaccinated banned him from the US Open and the entire US hard court swing.
His only other appearance was at the Laver Cup team tournament in London last week.
There he saw his rival Roger Federer retire from the sport.
However, 35-year-old Djokovic, now seventh in the world rankings, insisted on the eve of the event in Tel Aviv that retirement was not on his agenda.

“I still want to play” tennis even though I’ve accomplished pretty much everything you can achieve in tennis,” said Djokovic, whose 21 Grand Slam titles are just one short of Rafael Nadal’s men’s record of 22.
“I still have passion and hunger to play at the highest professional level.”
Djokovic, who shows no sign of the right wrist troubling him in London, will face Canada’s 149th-placed Vasek Pospisil in Friday’s quarter-finals.
The Serb has a 5-0 career record against the 32-year-old Canadian.
Pospisil made it to the last eight by knocking out Israeli qualifier Edan Leshem 6-3, 6-2.
Arthur Rinderknech of France saved a match point to take a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (9/7) win against Diego Schwartzman in third seed.
The number 58 in the world then plays against Roman Safiullin.
British qualifier Liam Broady stunned fifth seed Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to arrange a meeting with second seed Marin Cilic.

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