US Open

Djokovic gets pass into US Open Round 4

2016-09-03 10:00
Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)

New York - Tennis is everywhere in New York during the US Open - except, apparently, on the courts where defending champion Novak Djokovic is scheduled to play.

The top-ranked Serbian was handed a virtual free pass on Friday, when third-round foe Mikhail Youzhny of Russia retired with a left hamstring injury while trailing 4-2 in the first set.

That followed Djokovic's move into the third round on a walkover from Czech Jiri Vesely.

"This particular situation I never had in my Grand Slam career," said Djokovic, who said there were good and bad aspects to his unexpected free ride.

"Considering the stage of the season, the amount of matches I've played, what I've been through with my body, I think it's actually good to have some days off and then shorter matches - from one side," Djokovic said.

"From the other side, sure, as you are approaching the second week of the Grand Slam you want to have match play and you want to have time spent on the center court before you face one of the top players."

All of the unexpected free time means Djokovic has even more chance to check out what his rivals are doing in the tournament.

"I follow, of course," he said. "Once you're in a Grand Slam you watch a match or two when you're back in your hotel room. Mostly when I'm training, days off, or when I'm here the day of my match, tennis is everywhere, on each TV.

"Not only in the tennis facility, but all over the city. You can feel that kind of vibe."

While Djokovic hasn't had much chance to build a buzz himself, he said he thought the benefits, on balance, outweighed any downside.

"I'm not too concerned about my game itself," he said. "I've worked hard last couple days. Health-wise I feel much better than I did at the beginning of the tournament.

"I'm confident that everything is going in the right direction," said the Serb, who next faces 21-year-old Kyle Edmund, who toppled big-serving American John Isner 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).

After just 32 minutes of play, Djokovic delighted fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium by changing from his match gear into to a T-shirt and hitting a bevy of practice serves, with coach Boris Becker looking on.

"I got an extra hour of practice on the center court," he said. "They were kind enough to allow me to practice. Got to focus on positives."

Results from the fifth day of the 2016 US Open tennis championships at Flushing Meadows on Friday (x denotes seeded player):

Men

Third round

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 4-2 retired

Kyle Edmund (GBR) bt John Isner (USA x20) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x9) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA x23) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)

Jack Sock (USA x26) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x7) 6-4, 6-3, 6-3

Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Lucas Pouille (FRA x24) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP x15) 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1

Gael Monfils (FRA x10) bt Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 6-4, 6-2, 6-4

Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) bt Ryan Harrison (USA) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 6-1

Women

Third round

Madison Keys (USA x8) bt Naomi Osaka (JPN) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3)

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) bt Monica Niculescu (ROM) 6-3, 6-1

Johanna Konta (GBR x13) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI x24) 6-2, 6-1

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) bt Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 6-4, 6-1

Roberta Vinci (ITA x7) bt Carina Witthoeft (GER) 6-0, 5-7, 6-3

Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x12) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

Petra Kvitova (CZE x14) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x22) 6-3, 6-4

Angelique Kerber (GER x2) bt Cici Bellis (USA) 6-1, 6-1

Read more on:    us open  |  novak djokovic  |  tennis
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