Novak Djokovic have been knocked out of the Rio Olympics in the first round after falling to Martin Del Portro 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2).
The unseeded del Potro did not allow Djokovic — the world’s premier returner — a single break point in the match and produced 41 winners (33 with his forehand) to 24 unforced errors: quite a strike rate for someone who was pounding the ball with such aggression.
The mystery was why Djokovic kept hitting to del Potro’s forehand when he pushed forward. Not surprisingly, he paid a heavy price, particularly in the second-set tiebreaker when del Potro nailed consecutive passing shot winners on the stretch to take an early 3-0 lead, which soon became a 5-0 lead and then victory.
Now, he has been beaten in the first round for the first time at any tournament since the Brisbane event in 2009, when he was beaten by Ernests Gulbis. (After getting a first-round bye this year in Monte Carlo, Djokovic was also upset by Jiri Vesely in his opening match.)
The top seeds in both men’s doubles and women’s doubles were also beaten in the first round on Sunday. Venus and Serena Williams lost for the first time ever at the Olympics, falling by 6-3, 6-4 in the women’s doubles to the Czech team of Barbora Strycova and Lucie Safarova. Pierre-Hugues Hubert and Nicolas Mahut of France were beaten, 7-6 (4), 6-3, by Juan-Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah of Colombia.
The No. 2 seeds in men’s doubles, Andy and Jamie Murray of Britain, were also upset, losing to Thomaz Bellucci and André Sá of Brazil, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (14).