Novak Djokovic secures victory on birthday to advance at Geneva Open

The 24-time Grand Slam champion, is participating in the ATP 250 tournament in Switzerland for the first time

By Web Desk
May 23, 2024
Novak Djokovic with birthday cake. - AFP 

Novak Djokovic clinched a victory on his 37th birthday as he defeated Germany's Yannick Hanfmann in a rain-interrupted match to advance into the quarter-finals of the Geneva Open.

Djokovic, a 24-time Grand Slam champion, is participating in the ATP 250 tournament in Switzerland for the first time as part of his preparations for the French Open and secured a 6-3 6-3 win.

This places him as only the third player - following Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer - to reach 1,100 wins on the ATP Tour.

Following the match, the crowd sang 'Happy Birthday' to Djokovic and he was also presented with a chocolate birthday cake by tournament officials.

"My birthday wouldn't have been the same if I had not won the match," said Djokovic.

"I'm very grateful for all the people that came out to support me and thank you for the birthday song, that was very special for me."

The top-ranked player in the world has not yet made it to a final in 2024 and will next encounter either Canada's Denis Shapovalov or Dutch sixth seed Tallon Griekspoor.

In the first round, Hanfmann secured a 7-5 6-2 victory against Britain's Andy Murray, who was competing in his first ATP Tour-level match since sustaining ankle ligament damage at the Miami Open in March.

However, the 32-year-old German, ranked 85th in the world, had his serve broken by Djokovic in the sixth game and then failed to convert two break-point opportunities soon after.

With Djokovic serving for the set at 5-3, Hanfmann missed four break points before the match was paused at deuce in the ninth game, marking the beginning of a rain delay lasting more than an hour.

When play resumed, Djokovic swiftly secured the set, although Hanfmann subsequently broke his serve at the beginning of the second set, taking a 3-0 lead.

He had an opportunity to secure a double break but failed to capitalise on it, as Djokovic managed to level the match in the following game, assisted by a superbly executed sliced drop shot that Hanfmann couldn't retrieve.

Djokovic, bolstered by two superb cross-court winners in the ninth game, went on to win six consecutive games to clinch the victory.