New York - Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic made it harder
than it had to be, but rediscovered his poise in time to pull off a four-set
victory over Tennys Sandgren at the US Open on Thursday.
Djokovic, winner of the title in Flushing Meadows in 2011
and 2015, defeated the 61st-ranked American 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2.
"It was just me being me - the other me that my first
me doesn't like," Djokovic said of the loss of concentration that cost him
the third set.
"I thought I played very well for the first two and a
half sets and then I just lost it mentally," said Djokovic, who had saved
two break points in the opening set and was never in danger in the second.
"I got pissed off or something - at myself, my game or
something. I'm not happy with the way I lost that concentration and composure
there, but at the end of the day I managed to kind of regroup in the
With Djokovic suddenly struggling, more of the entertaining
rallies went Sandgren's way in the third set and he broke Djokovic for a 3-2 lead.
Djokovic promptly broke back, and had a match point against
the American's serve in the 10th game.
But he couldn't convert and it was Sandgren - who put
together a sparkling quarter-final run at the Australian Open in January - who
seized control in the tiebreaker, speeding to a 3-0 lead and claiming the set
on his second opportunity.
Djokovic regained control with a quick break for a 2-1 lead
in the fourth. He broke again for 5-2 and clinched the win on his second match
point when he patted a ball just out of Sandgren's reach.
Djokovic will take on 26th-seeded Richard Gasquet of France
for a place in the last 16.
The 31-year-old Serb, who missed last year's US Open as he
battled an elbow injury that finally required surgery, broke out of a prolonged
slump with his 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
He followed that up with a victory over Roger Federer in the
Cincinnati Masters final - both victories that he wasn't expecting when he
joined forces again with his old coach Marian Vajda with the aim of rounding
into form in time for the last Grand Slam of the year.
"It's a work in progress still," said Djokovic,
seeded a modest sixth.
"We are working daily on trying to perfect the game and
put it together. Obviously the last couple months have been really, really good
in terms of results. But we both still feel that I have lots of room for
US Open results on Thursday, the fourth day of the 2018 tournament at Flushing Meadows (x denotes seeded player):
Marin Cilic (CRO x7) bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-2, 6-0, 6-0
Alex De Minaur (AUS) bt Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-2
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Julien Benneteau (FRA) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
David Goffin (BEL x10) bt Robin Haase (NED) 6-2, 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 6-2
Diego Schwartzman (ARG x13) bt Jaume Munar (ESP) 6-2, 6-0, 5-7, 6-2
Kei Nishikori (JPN x21) bt Gael Monfils (FRA) 6-2, 5-4 - retired
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bt Matthew Ebden (AUS) 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 6-2, 6-0
Alexander Zverev (GER x4) bt Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Novak Djokovic (SRB x6) bt Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2
Richard Gasquet (FRA x26) bt Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3
Lucas Pouille (FRA x17) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
Joao Sousa (POR) bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP x12) 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 2-0 - retired
John Millman (AUS) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x14) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) bt Chung Hyeon (KOR x23) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 6-3
Nick Kyrgios (AUS x30) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 6-0
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
Caroline Garcia (FRA x6) bt Monica Puig (PUR) 6-2, 1-6, 6-4
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x30) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
Maria Sharapova (RUS x22) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 6-2, 7-5
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x10) bt Taylor Townsend (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Madison Keys (USA x14) bt Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-4, 6-1
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-1, 6-3
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x29) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-4
Angelique Kerber (GER x4) bt Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-2, 5-7, 6-4
Petra Kvitova (CZE x5) bt Wang Yafan (CHN) 7-5, 6-3
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x26) bt Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6-3, 7-6 (9/7)
Naomi Osaka (JPN x20) bt Julia Glushko (ISR) 6-2, 6-0
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) bt Darya Kasatkina (RUS x11) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)
Kiki Bertens (NED x13) bt Francesca Di Lorenzo (USA) 6-2, 6-1
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-4, 6-3
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4)
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x2) 6-4, 6-2