NEW YORK: World number one Novak Djokovic admitted that he was made to fight for the first time at this year’s US Open as he racked up his 60th win of the year after beating Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to enter the last-16.
Djokovic, who has only lost twice in 2011 and only dropped three games in his first two rounds, said that despite the seemingly comfortable win, Davydenko did give him a decent workout.
“I played well at important moments and got the crucial breaks,” said the top seed. “He was aggressive and stayed close to the lines. But I was passive and I wasn’t happy with the game.”
Federer overcomes Cilic
Meanwhile, Roger Federer reached the fourth round for the 30th consecutive time at a Grand Slam with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Croatia’s 27th-seed Marin Cilic. The third-seed was relieved at carving out a win from a tough outing.
“It was a tough match,” said Federer. “Coming in I knew it was going to be tricky, and I’m happy that I was able to counter his pace and his good play.”
Federer next plays Argentina’s Juan Monaco who defeated Tommy Haas 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
Injury toll rises
Meanwhile, Czech ninth-seed Tomas Berdych and Marcel Granollers, the Spanish 31st-seed, took the tournament injury toll to a record 18 when they quit their third-round matches.
Berdych was suffering from a right shoulder injury and needed treatment after the first set against Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic, which he lost 6-4, and then called it quits when he was down 5-0 in the second.
Granollers was trailing Spanish compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-1, 4-3 when he brought proceedings to a halt with a stomach strain.
Eighth-seed Mardy Fish defeated South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-4, 7-6, 7-6 and next plays French 11th- seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who saw off Fernando Verdasco in straight sets.
Serena outplays Azarenka
In the women’s event, Serena Williams defeated Belarusian fourth-seed Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 7-6. The 13-time Grand Slam champion next faces former world number one Ana Ivanovic who saw off American Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-4.
Williams, who saw three match points slip away in the ninth game of the second set, insisted she still has much to work on.
“I think in the first set I played some good tennis,” she said. “In the second, she kind of dictated. I probably could’ve played better.”
World number one Caroline Wozniacki, still searching for an elusive first Grand Slam title, made the last-16 with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over America’s Vania King.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2011.