Novak Djokovic continues to impress on his return to the US Open, edging Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles in straight sets to reach the third round.
The Serb is looking to extend his record tally of 23 Grand Slam titles for men, and the ease of winning 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 suggests winning the tournament is a possibility.
Zapata Miralles battled through the first set, but Djokovic’s form showed throughout the remainder of the match.
“It was a tough match, especially in the first set, given the circumstances,” Djokovic said during his on-court interview after the match.
“I think after that when the whole pitch was in the shade it was a bit easier, but there’s still a lot of moisture and on the pitch you can feel it more because of the hard pitch, as the heat gets absorbed into the surface.”
Despite winning straight sets, the world number two still believes there is room for improvement in his performance, especially during that tough first set.
“You just have to accept it, embrace it, and try to get the most out of it. I didn’t start the match very well, but the second and third sets were at least a few levels higher than the first, so I’m very happy with the way I finished,” he said.
Djokovic dominated throughout the second and third sets and was simply better than his world number 76 opponent.
The Serbian has won the US Open three times but says he still retains the same passion for the tournament he always has, citing the New York fans as one of the main factors.
“I’m happy to be back in New York, and I’m happy to be playing here with Arthur Ashe in front of you guys,” Djokovic added after the match.
“That’s what gives me strength, that’s what gives me motivation at 36 years old and 20 years after coming to New York. I’m still hungry, I still want to do my best on this court.
Djokovic arrived at Flushing Meadows in fine shape after winning the Western & Southern Open earlier this month – his first tournament on American soil since 2021 due to his vulnerable status.
The 36-year-old will face compatriot Laslo Geer in the third round. Jerry defeated French player Hugo Gaston in straight sets during the second round.
Elsewhere, there was an early upset when Stefanos Tsitsipas lost in five sets to Dominic Stricker in the second round.
Tsitsipas is ranked seventh in the world but was in a battle from the start against Stricker, who is ranked No. 128.
Stricker, in his US Open debut, eventually claimed a 7-5 6-7 6-7 7-6 6-3 victory after a massive four-hour, four-minute match to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time. time.
“This is a great day for me, such a great win,” Stricker said after the match. “It gives me a lot of confidence and I think it’s great to see that from my team. We work hard every day and it’s great to do that.”
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