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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Djokovic extends Slam bid; 1st time no US gamers in Open QF

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For 1 1/2 units, together with one significantly compelling and aggressive 24-point sport, Novak Djokovic’s fourth-round opponent on the U.S. Open — Jenson Brooksby, the final American left in singles — gave him suits amid a raucous environment at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

That permit Djokovic, above all, and everybody else, know that Brooksby — a 20-year-old wild-card entry from California who’s ranked 99th and by no means earlier than had been on this type of stage — belonged. After which, not surprisingly, Djokovic confirmed why he’s who he’s and the way he is managed to maneuver inside three victories of the primary calendar-year Grand Slam in males’s tennis in 52 years.

Settling in and sending messages, to the followers with roars and to Brooksby with some staredowns, the No. 1-ranked Djokovic improved to 25-0 in majors this 12 months by profitable 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 on Monday evening. He prolonged his pursuit of a real Grand Slam and a record-breaking twenty first main championship, whereas additionally making this the primary time within the historical past of the U.S. Open, an occasion that dates to the Eighties, with zero males or girls from the host nation within the quarterfinals.

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“Was a very good end. It wasn’t a very good tart,” stated Djokovic, who hopes so as to add a fourth U.S. Open title to a group that is been boosted by his ninth on the Australian Open in February, second on the French Open in June and sixth at Wimbledon in July.

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He subsequent meets No. 6 Matteo Berrettini of Italy in a rematch of the ultimate on the All England Membership.

One key to Monday’s turnaround: Djokovic broke in Brooksby’s preliminary service sport in every of the final three units.

“I wished to put on him down,” Djokovic stated, “and it labored.”

Affected by a left hip that bothered him earlier within the event, Brooksby was visited by a coach after the second set and once more after the third. Nonetheless, for somebody who by no means had set foot on Ashe’s blue courtroom till about two hours earlier than the match, when he received an opportunity to observe there, Brooksby by no means appeared overwhelmed by the setting or the circumstances.

“We’re going to see numerous him sooner or later,” stated Djokovic, who can be the primary man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all 4 Slam trophies in a single 12 months. “I imply, he has the means. Now, clearly numerous issues have to come back collectively. However he has a little bit of an unorthodox sport. Does so much with the texture. He’s good. He is aware of how one can win factors.”

Brooksby’s 6-foot-4 strides and attain, his anticipation, his selection that features a well-disguised two-handed backhand slice, his think-steps-ahead level building, his dedication to patterns drawn up by his coach at residence in Sacramento since age 7, Joe Gilbert — all left Djokovic a tad discombobulated early.

“I knew it might be necessary to begin robust, to impose my mindset and my technique, my sport on the market,” Brooksby stated. “I may see it working. I actually did have numerous confidence in myself on the market that I can beat him, I can beat anyone.”

Within the first set, Brooksby made one unforced error, Djokovic 11. And Brooksby gained 14 of the factors that lasted 5 strokes or extra, Djokovic 4.

When Djokovic netted an overhead to maneuver Brooksby two factors from the set, many of the spectators within the 23,000-plus-capacity enviornment — excited to be again after final 12 months’s ban on audiences amid the pandemic — rose, clapping and screaming.

When Djokovic missed a return to cede that set to his foe, Brooksby waved each arms and heard extra loud help.

“Electrical. Superior. I loved it. I actually did,” stated Djokovic, who quickly can be listening to his personal cheers. “You guys gave each of the gamers numerous vitality.”

He broke to go up 2-0 within the second set and punched the air and shouted. At 3-1 arrived an epic sport: six break possibilities, good deuces, 24 factors in all, unfold out over almost 20 minutes. Djokovic pushed the ball into the online to finish that sport and make it 3-2, prompting Brooksby to hop and bounce and windmill his arm and cry, “Let’s go!”

After which, fast as might be, Djokovic regrouped. With Brooksby gasping for air, Djokovic broke proper again and, quickly sufficient, the end result was clear.

“The momentum,” declared Djokovic, a 34-year-old from Serbia, “was modified.”

The opposite quarterfinals on the boys’s facet: No. 4 Alexander Zverev of Germany vs. Lloyd Harris of South Africa, No. 12 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada vs. 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, and No. 2 Daniil Medevev of Russia vs. qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands.

The ladies’s round-of-eight matchups: No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus vs. No. 8 Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine vs. 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada, No. 11 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland vs. 18-year-old qualifier Emma Raducanu of Britain, and No. 4 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in opposition to No. 17 Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Sakkari beat 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu 6-7 (2), 7-6 (6), 6-3 in a match that ended at 2:13 a.m., making it the latest-finishing girls’s match in event historical past.

“I hope you’ll not be late for work tomorrow,” Sakkari advised these followers who stayed till the tip. “Go get some sleep and I’ll see you in two days.”

Brooksby’s exit — definitely no disgrace in shedding to Djokovic, after all — adopted the fourth-round departures earlier Monday by No. 22 seed Reilly Opelka from the boys’s draw with a 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 loss to Harris, and by unseeded Shelby Rogers from the ladies’s draw with a 6-2, 6-1 loss to Raducanu.

Rogers upset Ash Barty, a two-time main champion who’s ranked No. 1, within the third spherical, however was unable to provide the identical degree of tennis in what she termed a “fairly embarrassing” efficiency Monday.

The brackets started with 43 People within the singles fields.

“We’ve received an enormous group of fellows there,” Opelka stated. “We simply don’t have the world-beaters.”



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