Djokovic gets a scare
Novak Djokovic did not expect his third-round match against Laslo Djere to turn into such an ordeal. On paper, he was the logical favorite over his compatriot, who reached the third round of the New York Open for the first time.
"I wish him well. Except for the next match,” Djokovic had said when he found out who he was going to meet on court, adding that he was aware that his countryman was playing, “probably the best hardcourt tennis of his career.” .
Two hours beating number one
The Serbian number two, who won the only meeting between the two last year, was very clear about the tactics to use. “I will try to approach the match like any other, like a third round of the US Open,” he said. “The key against Novak will be to go out and play my best tennis, fight for every point.”
His plan worked for almost two hours. He went all out for the 28-year-old and the first chance he had, in the first game, he took Djokovic's serve and kept the distance. The long and powerful exchanges generally fell on the side of the youngest of the contenders. With the margin achieved, Djere scored the first set.
I feed off the energy of the spectators
The tone of the match was maintained in the second set. This time, Djere did not show even a shadow of a break, while he had several opportunities to go ahead on the scoreboard, achieving it in the seventh game, to take the set. And that's where Laslo's plan ended. Because even the best-laid plans go out the window when your friend, compatriot and rival is the man who has won the most Grand Slam titles in history.
Using his seniority and experience, Novak began to demonstrate, with shouts of effort, that he was trying to turn the match around, to give more of a show, and the audience, which until then had been quite lukewarm, responded. Djokovic grew with that support (“I feed off the energy that the spectators give me at a night session in Ashe,” he said in the tunnel, before starting) and destroyed his rival, who was beginning to show signs of success, in two subsequent rounds. of tiredness. It was almost 1 at night and they were going to the final set.
Next rival, a Croatian
Djokovic continued to press. Djere gave up his serve in the second game and although he tried to fight to recover it, and even had a break point and surpassed a match point, the advantage was enough for the Cincinnati champion to complete his victory, after 3 hours and 45 minutes. It was the eighth time (of 34 matches) that Novak achieved victory after losing two sets to zero.
“It has been incredible,” he said. “It's almost 2 in the morning and many people have stayed and supported both of us players. I hope you enjoyed the show. Great, great credit to Laslo, who has played the best tennis I have seen him play.”
Borna Gojo awaits him in the fourth round, a Croatian player from the qualifying phase, who is in 106th place in the rankings. “The truth is, I don't care who it is,” Djokovic said. “What matters to me is sleeping, resting and recovering this 36-year-old body.”
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