World No. 1 Novak Djokovic began his Western & Southern Open title bid on Monday, following a 7-6 (2), 6-4 win over qualifier Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania to reach the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 event.

It was his first match since capturing a fifth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown in February.

The 2018 Cincinnati Masters champion now holds a 19-0 record in 2020.

Former junior world no.1 Berankis grabbed the first break in each set, but the top seed from Serbia battled through to triumph in one hour and 41 minutes.

Djokovic came back from 4-3 down in the first set and trailed 2-0 and 4-2 in the second.

Match statistics: aces (8-0), double faults (7-4), winners (17-22), unforced errors (17-32), total points won (73-61).

Novak will next play ATP #55, American Tennys Sandgren (H2H 2-0), who recovered from losing the first set to defeat the 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7, 6-2, 7-6.

The tournament is being contested behind closed doors at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the venue of the US Open in New York, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic that suspended the ATP Tour for five months.

Photo: AP

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