Sunday, December 5

Novak Djokovic Silences Griekspoor and Heckler to Reach US Open Third Round | 2021 US Tennis Open

On a night when it seemed like nothing could derail Novak Djokovic’s charge to a record 21 major singles titles and the first calendar-year grand slam in men’s tennis in 52 years, he was a gawking spectator in the crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium who did more to upset the world number one than his opponent on the court.

Serving 3-3, 30 in the second set against 121st-ranked Tallon Griekspoor during their US Open second-round match on Thursday night, Djokovic missed a routine overhand to go break the point for the first time in the match. He then shot a glance in the direction of a fan who made noise during the point. The mistake was immediately compounded when Djokovic broke down after scoring a backhand. But instead of cooking or burning, the best player in the world and top seed in the men’s draw came back on the spot and snapped a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win in 99 quick minutes.

“That guy, for whatever reason, was calling, turning up the sound, and yelling right before my smash hit, which was a great point. Before that, I would do it a few times. After that, again, ”said Djokovic. “That was not nice. That is all. I don’t mind the noise. Do not misunderstand. I think it’s important for the entertainment, for the crowds, the music. I get it. But if someone does it over and over again … they know why they do it. The guy I pointed out, he knew exactly what he was doing, and that’s it. “

It turned out that the interlocutor fell as quietly as Griekspoor, 25, who had crushed 30 aces in a first-round win over Jan-Lennard Struff, including one that hit 149 mph. He managed just five against Djokovic, who won 80% of his first serve points and half of his Dutch opponent’s service games before closing the show with his 13th ace of the night in match point.

“Great performance,” said Djokovic. “Definitely better than the first round match. Obviously I am very satisfied with the way I came out on the court. I served very well. I found the rhythm in the service. It was important that I come up with the products. “

He added: “Overall very good, very good. I am very satisfied with the level of my tennis. Everything is going in the right direction. “

The result moved top-ranked Djokovic to 23 perfect victories out of 23 major league games this year, bringing him ever closer to becoming the first male player to win all four of the sport’s pivotal tournaments in the same calendar year since Rod Laver in 1969. .

The next hurdle will come on Saturday against Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who bounced back from a break in the fifth set for a 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-6, 6- win. 3. about Mackenzie McDonald in the outside patios. Nishikori scored one of his iconic career victories when they last met at Flushing Meadows in the 2014 US Open semifinals, but the former world No. 4 has failed to defeat Djokovic once in his 16 meetings since. .

“I don’t have anybody’s number on the court until I win,” Djokovic said.

What the first game of Thursday’s night session at Ashe lacked in drama was more than made up for in the cup, as former US Open and Wimbledon runner-up Karolína Plíšková saved a match point before coming back to 7- 5, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7) defeats local favorite Amanda Anisimova.

Anisimova, the surprise 2019 French Open semifinalist who turned 20 on Tuesday and hails from the same New Jersey city where Bruce Springsteen grew up, was one point from the finish line at 7-6 in the third tiebreaker. set when he threw a forehand into the net. That opened the door for Plíšková, whose 24 aces were the most in a US Open women’s singles match since at least 1998.

At Louis Armstrong Stadium, Bianca Andreescu and Denis Shapovalov led a Canadian twin lineup before a cheery crowd that saw them punch their third-round tickets.

Sixth-seeded Andreescu, who captured the season-ending Grand Slam in her main draw debut two years ago only to withdraw from last year’s tournament due to injury, fell behind on four separate occasions against American Lauren Davis, but he stood his ground. for a 6-4, 6-4 victory that improved his career record at Flushing Meadows to 9-0.

Subsequently, seventh seed Shapovalov overcame an error-filled first set to overwhelm Roberto Carballes Baena by a score of 7-6 (7), 6-3, 6-0 that avenged his five-set loss to the Spaniard in France from this year. Opened.

“I definitely wanted revenge,” Shapovalov said. “I knew it was going to be very difficult. That’s why I said that I feel super happy with myself for getting away with it in straight sets. It could have been a very, very long game. “

The biggest upset of the day came in the men’s doubles, as American wild card pair Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow won 6-2, 7-5 over top seeds Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, whose championship team series this year includes titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome Masters.

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