On Saturday at the US Open, Novak Djokovic came within four matches of completing the first men’s singles calendar-year Grand Slam in 52 years.
Djokovic beat Kei Nishikori 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 to win his 17th straight match against the Japanese star and improve to 18-2 in their overall rivalry.
Djokovic stated, “I was extremely satisfied with the focus.” “I wasn’t at my best at times, but I was motivated and focused, and that made all the difference.”
With a fourth US Open championship, Djokovic would become the first man in men’s singles history to win all four majors in the same year since Rod Laver in 1969.
Meanwhile, Djokovic was on his way to winning his 21st Grand Slam championship, breaking the tie for the men’s record he has with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who were both out due to injuries.
The 34-year-old Serbian star will face 99th-ranked US wildcard Jenson Brooksby in the fourth round on Monday.
Nishikori observed, “He was playing quite solid.” “I couldn’t get past the barrier. I was very unlucky to lose.”
Djokovic, who had 52 unforced errors and 45 winners, dropped the first-set tie-final breaker’s three points, the final one on a Nishikori service winner.
Djokovic admitted, “I don’t think I started off very well.” “I was being far too passive. He was directing the action. I was still attempting to establish a tempo. It took me some time to get used to his style of play.”
Djokovic, on the other hand, broke early in each set to gain control. He took a 3-2 lead in the fourth and never lost another game.
Djokovic stated, “Big credit to Kei, who played at a very high level.” “He was lightning fast. It was difficult. He put up a great fight.”
When Olympic champion Alexander Zverev quit with a right thigh injury, he defeated 184th-ranked Jack Sock 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-1.
“I know I’m doing OK,” Zverev said, “but a lot of other guys are playing well as well.” “I’m trying to maintain my current form and give myself the best chance possible.”
Fourth seed Zverev, the runner-up at the 2020 US Open, joined qualifiers Oscar Otte and Peter Gojowczyk to become the first German trio to reach the fourth round of the US Open since 1994, and the first German trio to reach the last 16 of any Slam since Wimbledon in 1997.
Runner-up at Wimbledon Ilya Ivashka of Belarus was eliminated by Italian sixth seed Matteo Barrettini 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. Otte, the 144th-ranked player in the world, defeated Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.