Novak Djokovic advances at Rogers Cup

Serbian star Novak Djokovic cruised to victory at the Rogers Cup in Montreal Tuesday afternoon.

Serbian star Novak Djokovic cruised to victory at the Rogers Cup in Montreal Tuesday afternoon.

Djokovic, the No. 3 seed, barely broke a sweat in defeating Germany's Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-3 in a second-round matchup in his Canadian tournament debut.

The Serb posted a first serve percentage of 76 per cent, and left Kiefer only three break-point opportunities in the entire match.

"At the start of the match, I didn't put a lot of first serves in and he tried to go to the net right away, be aggressive," Djokovic said. "That was his style, but I managed to hold, stay focused and get it over in straight sets."

In another second-round match from Wednesday, Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic upset No. 6 seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-7 (2), 7-6 (1), 6-4.

Frederic Niemeyer of Deauville, Que., dropped his first-round match to Mario Ancic of Croatia 6-4, 6-2. That left Frank Dancevic, who defeated Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro on Monday, as the only Canadian left in the draw.

Dancevic, from Niagara Falls, Ont., will face American qualifier Wayne Odesnik in the second round.

Djokovic, one of the rising stars in men's tennis, reached the semifinals of this year's French Open and Wimbledon to climb to No.4 in the ATP rankings, leading no less of an authority than John McEnroe to refer to him as "the real deal" in a recent conference call with Canadian reporters.

"Honestly, I didn't expect to get through to the top of men's tennis so fast," Djokovic said. "I didn't expect a lot of things. I just tried to work and stay concentrated and just go step by step and wait for the results. Sooner or later, I knew that the results were going to come if I stayed in the right direction, which happened in the end."

Stepanek trailed love-40 with the third set tied 4-4 when he stormed back to win five straight points and then serve out the match and send Gonzalez packing.

In first-round action from Tuesday:

  • No. 9 James Blake of the U.S. defeated Jurgen Melzer of Austria 7-5, 7-6 (4).
  • No. 12 Tommy Haas of Germany defeated Agustin Calleri of Argentina 6-3, 7-6 (6).
  • No. 13 Andy Murray of Scotland defeated Robby Ginepri of the U.S. 6-4, 6-4.
  • Jarkko Nieminen of Finland defeated Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 6-4.
  • Russia's Marat Safin advanced when Sweden's Robin Sodelring retired leading 2-1 in the first set.
  • Ivo Karlovic of Croatia defeated Max Mirnyi of Belarus 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
  • Fernando Verdasco of Spain defeated Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
  • Marcos Baghdatis defeated Spain's Carlos Moya 7-6 (7), 6-1.

Defending champion Roger Federer meets Karlovic on Wednesday, while No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal faces Safin. Both Federer and Nadal had first-round byes.

In first-round doubles action Tuesday, Canadians Philip Bester and Pierre-Ludovic Duclos fell to Nadal and teammate Lleyton Hewitt of Australia 6-4, 6-4.

The singles semifinals are scheduled for Saturday (CBC, 1 and 7 p.m. ET), with the final slated for Sunday (CBC, 2 p.m. ET).

With files from the Canadian Press