Ace tennis superstars – Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic registered emphatic wins in their respective matches as they advance to the next round of WTA-ATP Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday. It was not good news in the women’s section as former world number one Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament owing to back trouble. Williams had hoped to rebound from the back spasms that forced her out of the WTA final in Toronto on Sunday, where she lasted only four games before retiring.

For Djokovic and Federer, back in action for the first time since the Serb’s victory over the Swiss in the Wimbledon final, it was a smooth start to their US Open build-up. Federer seeded third, remained unruffled by a one-hour rain interruption at 2-2 in the second set, eventually defeating Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-4 to reach the third round at the event he has won seven times.


“I’m very happy, even if it was a bit tricky with the rain delay,” Federer said. “I’m happy to be back on court.

“This is the start of a long, long hardcourt swing. It’s good to begin with a win.

“I didn’t know that much about my opponent — he’s new to the tour — but at the end you have to concentrate on your own game.” Defending champion Djokovic double-faulted three times as he dropped serve in the opening game against Sam Querrey but quickly put things right and pulled away for a 7-5, 6-1 victory over the American.

“I ended the match well even if the start was nervy,” said Djokovic, who would break Querrey twice to take the first set then roll to victory.

“Sam was feeling comfortable on the court at the start and dictating. It was tough facing his big serve,” Djokovic said, adding that he was “hoping for better performance in the next round.”

Williams, meanwhile, was left just trying to get healthy after pulling out of her scheduled first-round match against qualifier Zarina Diyas. “I came to Mason (Ohio) on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning,” Williams said in a statement released by tournament officials.

“But unfortunately my back is still not right.”

In early action, another Stan Wawrinka won a first-round battle against 2017 Cincinnati champion Grigor Dimitrov 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4). Under leaden skies after an overnight thunderstorm, Dimitrov broke in the 12th game of the first set to take the lead. The 33-year-old Swiss ace fought back with the only break in the second set.

Wawrinka then raced into a 5-1 lead in the final set but wasted two match points in the eighth game and was broken twice while serving for victory.

Wawrinka had to hold off his Bulgarian opponent in the final-set tiebreaker before squeezing through in more than two and a half hours with his 10th ace.

(With Agency Inputs)