Rejuvenated Djokovic eyes US Open title

Back-from-injury Serb to vie for third hard-court grand slam silverware


Afp August 21, 2018
BACK ON TRACK: Champion in 2011 and 2015, and a five-time runner-up, Djokovic sat out the 2017 US Open to nurse an elbow injury. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK: From the pits of despair in Paris, record-setting Novak Djokovic now eyes a third US Open title in New York where for the first time since Wimbledon last year, the sport's 'Big Four' will be reunited.

Djokovic became the first man to win all nine Masters titles with victory over Roger Federer at Cincinnati on Sunday.

Having captured, against all the odds, a fourth Wimbledon in July, the 31-year-old Serb suddenly finds himself as joint-favourite with world number one Rafael Nadal to triumph at Flushing Meadows.

Champion in 2011 and 2015, and a five-time runner-up, Djokovic sat out the 2017 US Open to nurse an elbow injury.

His physical limitations were still evident when he slumped away from Roland Garros in June after a shock quarter-final loss to journeyman Marco Cecchinato, threatening to skip Wimbledon to mend his shattered self-confidence.

Fast forward three months and Djokovic is once again the man to beat.

"It's a wonderful feeling. It's been a couple of tough months for me with an injury but then winning Wimbledon and Cincinnati," Djokovic said.

Djokovic's Wimbledon triumph took his Grand Slam title collection to 13, just one behind Pete Sampras.

He also has 31 Masters, two back from Nadal but four more than Federer.

He will head for New York buoyed by his dominance over his three major rivals as well -- he leads Nadal 27-25, Federer 24-22 and Andy Murray 25-11.

Serena seeks 24th grand slam title

Serena Williams, riding an emotional rollercoaster as she adapts to juggling tennis and motherhood, seeks to end 2018 on a high with a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title at the US Open.

The US great counts six US Open victories among her 23 Slams and with one more would match Australian Margaret Court's record for most major singles titles.

She could also join Court, Evonne Goolagong and Kim Clijsters as the only mothers to win Grand Slam singles titles, but since an impressive run to the Wimbledon final — where she fell to Angelique Kerber — Williams has endured a lacklustre build-up to the hard-court showpiece in Flushing Meadows.

"I'm still at the very beginning, this is a long comeback," Serena had said after a second-round loss to Petra Kvitova in the second round at Cincinnati.  “I just began, I just started. I'm definitely at the very, very beginning."

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