For Djokovic, it’s no sweat ad­vanc­ing

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Howard Fendrich

NEWYORK— Thanks to in­juries to two op­po­nents, No­vak Djokovic did not ex­actly need to put in much work to reach the U.S. Open’s fourth round for the 10th con­sec­u­tive year.

So it made sense that the de­fend­ing cham­pion and No. 1 seed would spend some ex­tra time prac­tic­ing in Arthur Ashe Sta­dium as coach Boris Becker watched on Fri­day af­ter spend­ing a grand to­tal of 31 min­utes of match time on court over the sec­ond and third rounds.

“I don’t think I ever had this kind of sit­u­a­tion in my ca­reer,” Djokovic said.

Yes, Djokovic got an­other free pass at Flush­ing Mead­ows, ad­vanc­ing this time when Mikhail Youzhny stopped be­cause of a strained left ham­string while trail­ing 4-2 af­ter a lit­tle more than a half-hour of play.

In an evening match that lasted about an hour longer, Jack Sock ad­vanced to the fourth round by stun­ning 2014 U.S. Open cham­pion and No. 7-seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

Youzhny re­ceived treat­ment­fro­ma­trainer early on, get­ting his left leg wrapped, but briefly tried to con­tinue. Af­ter hold­ing serve in the sixth game, clos­ing it with an over­head put­away up at the net, the Rus­sian — a semi­fi­nal­ist in New York in 2006 and 2010 and a for­mer top-10 player now ranked 61st — shook his head and told the chair um­pire he couldn’t keep go­ing.

Djokovic did not play Wed­nes­day, when the man he was sup­posed to face in the sec­ond round, Jiri Ve­sely, with­drew from the tour­na­ment a cou­ple of hours be­fore that match be­cause of in­flam­ma­tion in his left fore­arm.

“There’s plenty of things to work on,” Djokovic said. “That’s the beauty of sport: Ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent. The chal­lenge is ev­ery day you feel dif­fer­ent on the court.” In a late match, Rafael Nadal pro­duced a spec­tac­u­lar “tweener” lob with his back to the net on the next-to­last-point of his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 vic­tory over An­drey Kuznetsov.

Nadal re­turned to the fourth round at the U.S. Open for the first time since win­ning the 2013 ti­tle.

ALEX GOODLETT/GETTY

No­vak Djokovic re­turns a shot against Mikhail Youzhny, who re­tired af­ter 31 min­utes with a strained ham­string.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.