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Djokovic celebrates birthday with win at Geneva Open

Novak Djokovic tennis betting

Novak Djokovic has celebrated his 37th birthday in style, defeating Yannick Hanfmann in straight sets in his opening match at the Geneva Open on Tuesday.

The world No.1 entered the ATP 250 event on a wildcard at late notice, hoping to get some match time under his belt before defending his Roland-Garros title next week. Mission accomplished so far, as Djokovic played free-flowing tennis for an hour and a half to prevail 6-3, 6-3 over Hanfmann.

The victory also makes Djokovic just the third man to reach 1,100 wins in the Open Era.

No signs of Rome wobbles for Djokovic

Coming into his match in Geneva, the big question for Djokovic was how he would hold up physically after a bizarre incident in Rome last week.

Following his win over Corentin Moutet in the round of 64, the Serbian had been signing autographs when a bottle slipped from a fan’s backpack. The metal object struck Djokovic on the head from a considerable height, causing him to drop to the ground and require medical treatment.

While he was cleared of concussion, the 24-time Grand Slam winner played one of his worst matches in years the next round against Alejandro Tabilo. Djokovic won just five games against the world No.32, looking noticeably off-balance and out of sync.

There were no signs of those struggles on Tuesday, however.

Djokovic moved well against Hanfmann, breaking the German mid-way through the opening set to go ahead early. After a brief blip at the start of the second set saw him fall behind a break, the top seed powered home to win with ease.

With these promising signs, bookmakers now have Djokovic as a heavy favourite to win the tournament. Bovada is paying +100 for the Serb to win, with Casper Ruud (+240) the only player anywhere near him in the market.

Next up, Djokovic will face the winner of Denis Shapovalov and Tallon Griekspoor in the Geneva Open quarter-finals.

Thiem, Schwartzman bid Roland-Garros goodbye

Elsewhere in the tennis world, two veterans of the ATP Tour played their final matches at Roland-Garros on Tuesday afternoon.

Having recently announced their respective retirements at the end of 2023, both Dominic Thiem and Diego Schwartzman hoped to have one last hurrah at the French Open.

Tournament organisers did not come to the party, however, opting not to grant wildcards to either player. This meant navigating their way through qualifying, something neither was able to do.

Schwartzman lost in his second match, falling 10-7 in a deciding tiebreaker to Quentin Halys. Thiem also made it to the second phase of qualifying, before crashing out in straight sets 6-2, 7-5 to Otto Virtanen.

It is a sad way to go out for two-time finalist Thiem and 2020 semi-finalist Schwartzman, but perhaps fitting that the Roland-Garros careers of these two accomplished clay players wrap up on the same day.

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