Nole had to work hard before making it through to the fourth round in New York.
Novak Djokovic advanced to the fourth round at the US Open for the 15th time on Friday when he overcame countryman and Davis Cup teammate Laslo Djere 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The no.2 seed recovered from a two-set deficit to seal the win in three hours and 45 minutes.
For 90 minutes or so, the 32nd-seeded Djere held the advantage in extended rallies as he produced fearless heavy hitting from the baseline and often put the three-time former champion off balance. However, the 23-time Grand Slam titlist regrouped and managed to raise his level in the third set.
The turning point came when Nole broke his rival’s serve for the first time at 1-0 in the third set by winning the 26-shot rally. Djere, who is playing some of the best tennis of his career, was still putting Djokovic to the test, but Novak found top-tier defence in the latter stages of the match to progress to last 16 at Flushing Meadows.
With the triumph, Novak improved to a 41-5 W/L record this season, and to 2-0 in his ATP H2H series with Djere.
“Unbelievable. It’s almost 2 a.m., a large number of people stayed,” Djokovic said. “I hope the fans enjoyed the show, it was definitely not so enjoyable for me, especially in the first two sets. It was one of the toughest matches I’ve played here in many years. Huge, huge credit to Laslo for playing some of the best tennis that I’ve ever seen him play.”
Match statistics: aces (12-8), double faults (4-2), winners (34-42), unforced errors (36-57), total points won (146-123).
Novak next plays Croatian qualifier Borna Gojo who eliminated Jiri Vesely (CZE).
The Sunday’s match will be the first career meeting between the two.
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