Novak Djokovic stayed perfect for 2020 but he had to work for it, need four sets to beat Kyle Edmund 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Djokovic dropped his first tiebreak of the year but his win-loss improved to 25-0 with the last 28 to the good.
“It was anybody’s game really for a set and a half,” said Djokovic. “I made some breaks and then obviously after winning the second set I felt more comfortable. I was returning better, I started to read his serve better and I was pleased with my serve. Overall, it was a very good test and I am happy to get through.
“Kyle played a fantastic first set,” he added. “He didn’t do much wrong, he served very well and was aggressive from the back of the court. Usually his forehand is a weapon, but backhand, especially in the first set, was very strong, very solid.”
Djokovic now has a Friday date with Jan-Lennard Struff who he whipped just a week ago on these courts.
“Another big server. I obviously played a great match against him in the Western & Southern Open,” said Djokovic. “There are different conditions here, if we play on [Arthur Ashe Stadium]. He is a big server and there is not much breeze in here, so that probably helps the server. Let’s see. I like my chances in best-of-five.”
No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev double faulted down set point in the second but gathered himself for a 7-5, 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-1 victory over 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima. The UCLA held firm behind a strong backhand, but the German’s serve produced 24 aces and he never was broken, though he did donate 10 double faults.
“Take the 10 double faults away and it’s perfect, and I wasn’t broken today,” said Zverev.
“Obviously I didn’t want to lose the second set, but I know that if I play my game I can still win,” said Zverev. “So it was one set all, everything was still open. He’s a good player, has an incredible backhand.”
Zverev now gets the tricky French lefty Adrian Mannarino who eliminated Jack Sock.
David Goffin and the hot-handed Filip Krajinovic both advanced to a Friday meeting. Taylor Fritz cruised into the last 32, he’ll now face Denis Shapovalov who was in some trouble after splitting sets with Soonwoo Kwon before pulling away in four sets.
No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas’s summer of facing big servers continued. The Greek endured the big bombs of American wildcard Maxime Cressy getting through with a tough 7-6(2), 6-3, 6-4 win.
Tsitsipas will finally get to hit a lot of groundstrokes in the next round against Borna Coric who needed five to put away Juan Ignacio Londero 7-5, 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3.
Tomorrow, Andy Murray will test his body and his metal hip against the 20-year-old from Canada, Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“Hits a big ball,” Murray said of the Canadian. “He moves well. I hit with him once only in Beijing last year… He’s getting up to the top of the game. I think he quite obviously likes playing on the hard courts. He’s had some struggles with his serve at times. That’s something that I’ll look to capitalise on.
“He’s a top, top young player. He’ll have an excellent, excellent career for sure. He’s been really good since he was very young. I think, physically, he’s a fantastic mover [and a] good athlete. He’s developed fast.”
Dominic Thiem, who turns 27, will take on Sumit Nagal and the powerful Russian trio of Daniil Medvedev, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev return.
Milos Raonic also looks to continue his March and former semifinalists Grigor Dimitrov and Matteo Berretini are in action.
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