The US Open is a tournament that has seen a number of great players fail to even qualify for a Grand Slam final. So, what makes the 2018 version of the US Open so different? Well, it looks like the biggest star in men’s tennis, Novak Djokovic, will be back in the finals with Brooksby as his opponent. After the Serbian legend missed the last two months with a wrist injury, many doubted he would be able to make it back in time for the US Open. But, with a victory over Brooksby, the 31 year old will move on to play with his 14th Grand Slam title in sight.
How does one keep the love of tennis alive when all the top players are retired? Well, Novak Djokovic is adjusting to life after tennis, and he used the US Open as the stage for another grand stage conquest. While many players join the professional ranks, Djokovic remains among the ranks of the retired, but he still manages to make appearances on the US Open tennis courts.
Determined to keep the hope of the calendar-year grand slam alive, Djokovic powered his way to a 6-3 6-1 6-3 victory over Jenson Brooksby in the first round of the US Open. The 6th seed, who was bidding for an 18th grand slam title, fought bravely through the first set, but the 6′ 6″ 6′ 8″ tall Frenchman broke him in the seventh game. The world no. 2 broke his opponent’s serve three times in the second set, but Djokovic was not allowed to serve out the match, being broken twice in the sixth game by his tall opponent.. Read more about us open and let us know what you think.
NEW YORK (WABC) — In a boisterous environment at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Novak Djokovic’s fourth-round opponent at the US Open, Jenson Brooksby, the only American remaining in singles, gave him fits for 112 sets, including one especially fascinating and difficult 24-point game.
That showed Djokovic and the rest of the world that Brooksby, a 20-year-old wild-card entrant from California who is ranked 99th and has never played on this level before, belongs.
Then, predictably, Djokovic demonstrated why he is who he is and how he has come so close to winning the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s tennis in 52 years.
The No. 1-ranked Djokovic advanced to 25-0 in majors this year by winning 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 on Monday night, settling in and delivering signals — to the crowd with roars and to Brooksby with some stare-downs. He extended his quest for a complete Grand Slam and a record-breaking 21st major title, while also becoming the first man or woman from the host nation to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open, which goes back to the 1880s.
“It was a satisfying conclusion. It wasn’t a nice start,” said Djokovic, who is looking to add a fourth US Open championship to his collection, which includes a ninth place finish at the Australian Open in February, a second place finish at the French Open in June, and a sixth place finish at Wimbledon in July. In a repeat of the All England Club final, he will face No. 6 Matteo Berrettini of Italy.
In each of the past three sets, Djokovic broke in Brooksby’s first serve game, which was crucial to Monday’s comeback.
“I wanted to wear him down, and it succeeded,” Djokovic said.
Brooksby was seen by an athletic trainer after the second set and again after the third, as he was troubled by a left hip that had plagued him earlier in the competition. Brooksby never appeared intimidated by the location or the circumstances, despite not having set foot on Ashe’s blue court until approximately two hours before the match, when he had a chance to practice there.
“We’ll see a lot of him in the future,” added Djokovic, who would become the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Grand Slam titles in the same year. “He has the resources, after all. Obviously, a lot of things must now fall into place. He does, however, play an unusual game. It has a significant impact on the overall feel. He’s astute. He understands how to score points.”
Brooksby’s 6-foot-4 strides and reach, his anticipation, his variety, which includes a well-masked two-handed backhand slice, his think-steps-ahead point building, and his dedication to patterns set out by his coach, Joe Gilbert, since he was 7, all threw Djokovic off early.
“‘I knew it would be critical to get out to a good start, to impose my mentality, strategy, and game on the field,” Brooksby said. “I could see how that might work. I truly believed in myself out there that I could defeat him, that I could beat anybody.”
Brooksby just committed one unforced mistake in the opening set, compared to 11 for Djokovic. Brooksby won 14 of the points with a duration of five strokes or more, while Djokovic won four. When Djokovic hit an overhead to cut Brooksby’s lead to two points in the set, the 23,000-plus crowd erupted in applause and screams, happy to be back following last year’s pandemic-related restriction on spectators.
Brooksby raised both arms and received additional loud applause after Djokovic botched a return to give the set to his opponent.
“Electric. Awesome. It was enjoyable for me. Djokovic, who was about to hear his own applause, replied, “I really did.” “You guys put a lot of energy into both of the players.”
Djokovic pounded the air and screamed after breaking to go up 2-0 in the second set. At 3-1, an amazing game began: six break opportunities, nine deuces, and a total of 24 points stretched over almost 20 minutes. Brooksby hopped and jumped and windmilled his arm and cried, “Let’s go!” as Djokovic pushed the ball into the net to finish the game and make it 3-2.
Then Djokovic rebounded as quickly as he could. With Brooksby gasping for breath, Djokovic fought back quickly, and the result was obvious.
“The momentum had shifted,” Djokovic, a 34-year-old Serbian, said.
On the men’s side, No. 4 Alexander Zverev of Germany will face Lloyd Harris of South Africa in the quarterfinals, No. 12 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada will face 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain in the semifinals, and No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia will face qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands in the semifinals.
Since Andy Roddick won the US Open in 2003, the American men have been without a major championship for 71 years. That is the United States’ longest major singles championship drought in tennis history.
Djokovic was defaulted last year in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows after inadvertently striking a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball after losing a point in his match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
Djokovic will now face Berrettini, who defeated Oscar Otte in the quarterfinals 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic defeated Berrettini to win Wimbledon, giving him a total of 20 Grand Slam championships, which ties him with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most by a male player.
Zverev won his 15th match in a row earlier Monday, defeating Jannik Sinner 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7). The No. 4 seed from Germany began his winning streak in Japan, continued it with a victory in Cincinnati, and then continued it at the US Open, where he finished second to Dominic Thiem last year.
“I’m pleased where I am, with how things are, and with how things have been for the past several months,” Zverev said. “I’m in the quarterfinals now, and the matchups aren’t going to get any easier from here.”
Zverev has a winning run that includes a semifinal triumph against Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics.
This analysis drew on data from ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press.
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