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Djokovic Battles Past Fognini After Lengthy Rain Delay At Olympics

London, England

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic won the 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medal.

Second seed Novak Djokovic, Serbia’s flag bearer at the London Olympics Opening Ceremony, defeated Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday at the All England Club for a place in the second round.

Djokovic squandered three set points in the first set, which was suspended due to rain at 7-7 in the tie-break at 3:13 p.m. local time. The Court One match resumed at 6:45 p.m., with Fognini winning two straight points to clinch the 57-minute set.

Djokovic, the bronze medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, swept through the second and third sets – dropping just five points on serve – to improve to 3-0 lifetime against Fognini. He hit 11 aces and 33 winners for victory in one hour and 52 minutes.

"I haven’t played an official match since Wimbledon, so it took me a set and a half to really get into the rhythm," said the Serbian. "Obviously the rain delay affected the game, and I wasn’t sharp enough after the rain delay."

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In other first-round action, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4. The fifth-seeded Tsonga faced down all three break points faced on serve and struck 36 winners to claim the victory in just under two hours.

Tsonga is making his first appearance since a semi-final run at Wimbledon, when he lost to British No. 1 Andy Murray in four sets. He is playing in his first Olympic Games.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the No. 15 seed, beat Bernard Tomic of Australia 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in 90 minutes. Nishikori saved five of six break point opportunities, hitting 39 winners in wet conditions on Court 18.

Only 55 minutes of play had been possible at Wimbledon, when rain began to fall on the outside courts mid-afternoon. Play had meant to start at 11:30 a.m., but it finally got underway at 2:18 p.m.

The Centre Court’s retractable roof was closed shortly before midday, to allow play on the main show court from 12:15 p.m. local time. A total of 16 men’s singles and nine men’s doubles matches were scheduled to be played on Sunday. By 5 p.m., several had been wiped from the day's schedule.

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