Novak Djokovic celebrates a point in his game this Saturday against Japanese player Kei Nishikori at the US Open. Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic overcame a slovenly start to beat Kei Japanese star Nishikori 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 6-2 to reach the fourth round of the US Open.
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic needed more than three hours of battle and a comeback to defeat Japan’s Kei Nishikori this Saturday and reach the round of 16 at the US Open.
The world number 1 is four games away from a historic title, with which he would surpass Federer and Nadal’s 20 Grand Slam titles and take all the major tournament titles in the 2021 season, a feat unprecedented since Rod Laver in 1969.
Djokovic missed the first set but ended up beating Nishikori, world number 56, 6-7 (7/4), 6-3, 6-3 and 6-2 in three hours and 32 minutes of play on center court. Arthur Ashe.
“I didn’t start very well, I was very passive. I had a hard time finding the rhythm. Then I played faster and more aggressive,” explained Djokovic. “At some point I wasn’t at my best level, but staying focused is what matters in the end.”
This Saturday, Flushing Meadows was still recovering from the hectic Friday, in which title contenders Stefanos Tsitsipas and Naomi Osaka, current champion, were eliminated, facing Spanish Carlos Alcaraz and Canadian Leylah Fernandez, both 18 years old.
To the amazement of the Arthur Ashe court crowd, Djokovic raised the possibility of an even bigger earthquake when he lost the first set to Nishikori 7-6 (7/4).
“You have to give a lot of credit to Kai, who played at a great level today,” acknowledged Djokovic. “I always knew he has great qualities, but today he surprised me with his level. He played very fast and very solid. The first sets were very tight and were decided by a few points.”
Seventh New Year
Unusually apathetic and making mistakes, ‘Nole’ only relented in the third game.
Although he recovered in the eighth, Djokovic was unable to avoid a ‘tiebreak’ in which Nishikori took advantage of the Serbian star’s unforced mistakes, who lost confidence by sending several weak hits into the net.
Djokovic gave away a clear point with a volley in the net that Nishikori returned with a spectacular lob, which led him to win the tiebreak with a last and fulminating ‘ace’.
At a disadvantage on the scoreboard, the Serb was not let down and recovered by breaking Nishikori’s serve in the third game, after a spectacular point that he celebrated with a scream of rage.
Djokovic hadn’t yet activated its devastating version, but benefited from Nishikori’s increasingly erratic gameplay.
The 31-year-old Japanese wasted five break points in the fourth game and two more in the sixth, allowing Djokovic to win the set 6-3.
Despite breathing a sigh of relief when the score was tied, the scares weren’t over for ‘Nole’, who suffered a slip early in the third set that made him roll on the floor.
The Serb stepped on the accelerator with his serve (15 ‘aces’ against his opponent’s six), while Nishikori showed signs of fatigue.
Aiming at victory in the third set, Djokovic began to interact with the Arthur Ashe court audience, putting his hand to his ear to ask for more support than he was receiving.
The loss of the set was a heavy blow for Nishikori, who with gestures of frustration watched the world number 1 secure his 17th consecutive victory against him.
This season, Djokovic has emerged victorious from seven Grand Slam crosses, in which he lost the first set.
Djokovic’s next opponent will come out of Saturday’s clash between Russian Aslan Karatsev and American Jenson Brooksby.
Italians in the octaves
Italian tennis has placed two representatives in the US Open round of 16 for the first time.
Matteo Berrettini, who lost to Djokovic in the last final at Wimbledon, was the first to win the spot by beating Belarusian Ilya Ivashka 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-4, 2-6 and 6- 3.
The Italian, a semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows in 2019, struggled for 3 hours and 46 minutes to overcome the Belarusian, who was in fine form after his victory last week in Winston-Salem.
Another Italian, 20-year-old Jannik Sinner, also made it to the round of 16, beating French veteran Gael Monfils in a fast-paced game of three hours and 42 minutes.
The tall Sinner, runner-up in the last Miami Masters 1000, won 7-6 (7/1), 6-2, 4-6, 4-6 and 6-4.
Another Italian, Andreas Seppi, was not so lucky. He was defeated by German Oscar Otte 6-3, 6-4, 2-6 and 7-5.
-Results of this Saturday’s US Open:
Men’s singles (3rd round):
Novak Djokovic (SRB/N.1) vs Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2
Oscar Otte (ALE) vs Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
Matteo Berrettini (ITA/N.6) vs. Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
Jannik Sinner (ITA/N.13) vs. Gaël Monfils (FRA/N.17) 7-6 (7/1), 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4