Rested Djokovic Coasts Into US Open QFs
For only the second time all tournament long, Novak Djokovic played a full match on Sunday night at the US Open. The top seed showed the rest has only helped.
Djokovic moved into the quarter-finals in New York for the 10th consecutive year, beating 21 year old Kyle Edmund 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in Arthur Ashe Stadium. In the last eight, the defending champion will face ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the 22nd time. The Serbian leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 15-6, including 11 of their past 12 meetings. Tsonga advanced to the quarter-finals with a four-set win against American Jack Sock.
“I was pleased,” said Djokovic. “Very pleased, except a little drop in the level in the third set, midway through the third set. Other than that, everything was great. It’s good to play an entire match, considering I had not much time spent on the court in past couple of rounds. So far I only played night sessions. I actually like playing night sessions very much. Hopefully the next one can be also night session.”
The two-time US Open champion hadn’t played a full match since 29 August, when he beat Pole Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 in the first round. Czech left-hander Jiri Vesely withdrew before their second-round match because of inflammation to his left forearm. Djokovic was leading his third-round match against Mikhail Youzhny 4-2 before the Russian retired because of a back injury.
“This particular situation I [have] never had in my Grand Slam career,” Djokovic, a 14-year tour veteran, had said.
But he looked focused from the start against Edmund, who was playing in the fourth round of a Grand Slam championship for the first time. Djokovic gained two breaks and lost only two points on his first serve in the opener. The second set was more of the same, and after a little more than one hour, Djokovic held a two-set lead against Edmund, No. 84 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
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But Edmund blasted his forehand more and made Djokovic worry in the third set. The Brit, who was playing in Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time, fell behind an early break but marched back to lead 3-2 before Djokovic took the final set.
“I enjoyed the experience,” said Edmund. “It was obviously a tough match. [I] came off a lot happier than I was during the match just because I got something going and started to impose myself a lot better. So that was good. [I’ve] just a lot of learning to do from it, which is a really good thing. To play the World No. 1 on the biggest tennis court in the world, doesn’t get much better than that. It’s been a great tournament for me. Loads and loads of positives, the way I’ve been playing. The good thing is, I feel like there’s a lot of stuff I can improve on and get better, as well, and the level I’m playing at.”
Djokovic’s left wrist, which he said had bothered him last month, looked fine but the 29 year old received treatment on his right arm for the second match of the tournament. Early on in the third set, a trainer massaged Djokovic’s right elbow. A trainer also had treated Djokovic’s right arm during his first-round match.