The Serbs like the drama, and world No. 3 Novak Djokovic supplied plenty of it in a gutsy 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win over Tommy Robredo on Tuesday at the US Open.
Djokovic injured his right hip (second set) and right ankle (fourth set) during the match, in addition to an upset stomach, but the Serb displayed some stunning shot-making in denying the Spaniard a fifth-set victory.
At one point Robredo was incensed over a line call and what he perceived as Djokovic’s theatrics.
“It was I think 2-all, serving — I was serving against the wind, and winning that point was 30-15 for me,” Robredo said. “So the game, it was pretty close for my side. Also Novak was doing the show, that he was — that he couldn’t run. So in that moment, I think that point was so important, and the ball was clearly inside the line. So that’s why I was so pissed, no? Because a ball like that can change a match, and I think it did it.
“I have pain, as well,” Robredo continued. “I was running like hell and my feet were burning but I say nothing, no? I think that if you’re not fit enough, then don’t play. But after every time he was asking for a trainer, he was running like hell and he was making the shot, but he does what he does a lot of times. So I think we should take care a lot more of these things, because one thing is that if you fell down like I did, I can have blood and it’s normal that trainer gets in because there’s blood or whatever. But for having pain, I had pain, as well, all over my body because I think I run a lot more than him, and I said nothing, no? So did I trust him? No. No. I think he took his time because he did it because he was a little bit more tired and that’s a part of the game. It help him a lot.”
Djokovic says he began the match on less than a full tank.
“The moment I stepped on the court, I felt, already, as you said, less energy in the tank,” Djokovic said, speaking with reporters after the match. “So I really tried to forget about that, to eliminate those things, but I just had to. I had to take a medical timeout a couple of times, go to the bathroom, because just many things involved. I want to do everything to win.”
While Djokovic overcame injury and illness, giant-killer Gilles Muller overcame Top 10 regular Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(10).
The No. 130-ranked Muller played his way into the event through the qualifying tournament. Davydenko converted on only two of 15 break chances, and uncharacteristically slammed his racquet to the ground in anger when a passing shot clipped the tape on match point in the tiebreak and landed back on his side.
“I think it was the most exciting tiebreaker I’ve ever played in my whole life,” Muller said. “I think the shot he did at 5-4 was the shot of the tournament for sure. It was hard to accept it, but the good thing is I smiled about it and kept going, and it really helped me…Everyone told me that Nikolay likes to play in rhythm. I played him twice already, and I was playing good matches, also those two matches, but every time I lost. I was hitting the ball every time and that’s what he likes. This time I just kept changing the pace. I played a lot of slices, which he doesn’t like, and then I went with the high ball. I changed my serve all the time. I changed spin, then slice. I think at one point of the match, he was really, like, out of it.”
Davydenko confirmed that Muller had found the book on him.
“I was expect, yes, serve, big serve, yes, and good volley, but today was different,” Davydenko said. “Like, he don’t give me some chance to play from baseline. Just play so many slices, try to put ball, just — it was not so many rally. It was like tough to make something from my side, try to do something, because I’m baseline player.”
Muller will next face world No. 2 Roger Federer, who needed five sets to subdue Russian Igor Andreev.
“What I need to do is get through the matches,” Federer said. “Hopefully the best match will come at the end of the tournament. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I have no complaints. I don’t feel I’m extra tired. I’m not scared to be super tired tomorrow. I don’t think physically it was that much of a problem. Those are all good signs to have right now.”
Earning a meeting with Djokovic in the quarters Tuesday night was Andy Roddick, who strolled past a tired and sluggish Fernando Gonzalez 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in the feature night match.
On court Wednesday in quarterfinal action are (6) Andy Murray vs. (17) Juan Martin Del Potro, and (1) Rafael Nadal vs. Mardy Fish.
There were two women’s quarterfinals played Tuesday in Flushing Meadows, with No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic having little trouble against No. 29 Sybille Bammer 6-1, 6-4, and No. 5 Elena Dementieva remaining hot in dispatching of No. 15 Patty Schnyder 6-2, 6-3.
The Russian Dementieva has failed to drop a set during this US Open, saving reserves she will likely need after coming off a gold medal run in the brutal heat of the Beijing Olympics.
“For sure, it’s important to win in two sets, especially coming from Beijing,” Dementieva said. “I mean, extra time for recovery, it’s always good.”
Jankovic and Dementieva will now square off in the semifinals, with Jankovic owning a 4-3 career edge.
“It will be a really tough one but I have beaten her before,” Jankovic said. “I will really try my best and hopefully I can make my first Grand Slam final.”
On court Wednesday in quarterfinal action are (6) Dinara Safina vs. (16) Flavia Pennetta, and (4) Serena Williams vs. (7) Venus Williams.
Tropical Storm Hanna is scheduled to bring rain down on the US Open as early as Friday according to the Weather Channel…Andy Murray on his simmering feud with Juan Martin Del Potro: “I’ve known him since we were really young. Doesn’t really bother me. I wasn’t great friends with him before. I don’t need to be friends with him now.”…The City of New York in a ceremony yesterday renamed the base of the pasarelle just outside the East Gate public entryway to the US Open, the “David Dinkins Circle.” The circle, commemorating the 1964 World’s Fair, serves at the gateway through which most of the 700,000 annual visitors pass to attend the US Open…Andy Murray on players watching themselves on the stadium big-screen replays: “Yeah, I always watch. I think most people watch the replays when they’re on the court. They normally only show good points, so that’s why you watch it.”…No end in sight to the ATP betting investigation into Russian Nikolay Davydenko, an investigation that has gone on over a year: “We need to take as long it takes to determine if someone was involved,” said Kris Dent, the ATP’s director of corporate communications, speaking to Newsday. “The absolute bottom line for the ATP is that integrity is the most important aspect of our game, and that tennis has to be viewed as clean and without any hint of corruption.” Perhaps the ATP is dragging it out since, once they announce the investigation is over and they have no evidence, they will have opened themselves up to a huge counter-suit by Davydenko for basically ruining his personal life over the last year…So will Rafael Nadal debut his ‘adult look’ wardrobe (collared shirt, short(er) shorts) by Nike in his first event after the US Open? Reportedly the new clothes, designed specifically for Rafa’s measurements, will let him avoid the “bunching-up” (as a Nike exec said) of the shorts…Andy Roddick is suddenly looking all the wiser with the combination of skipping the Beijing Olympics and bring Patrick McEnroe on as a temporary coach. Gonzalez looked like he had the Beijing flu on Tuesday night, with barely enough energy to put up a fight.
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