ESPN News Services4 minutes to read
NEW YORK – Everyone should know by now that Novak Djokovic should never be ruled out. No matter the size of the deficit he faces. No matter how bad he played.
Therefore, it was logical that Djokovic could overturn a two-set deficit to beat Laslo Djere 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in the third round of the tournament. US Open, avoiding what would have been his closest exit from there since 2006.
Djokovic, who will face 25-year-old Croatian qualifier Borna Gogo in the next round, who is participating for the first time in the US Open, said, “Of course, winning a match is always better than losing a match. It’s that simple.” “I think the message is being sent to the rest of the field that I can still play five sets deep on the night, and coming back from two sets down always sends a strong message to future competitors.
“But at the same time, I don’t really want to be in that situation, to be honest. I’d rather win in straight sets. So hopefully I can get back on that path in the next match.”
This game started under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night and didn’t end until more than three and a half hours later, ending just after 1:30 a.m.
This is Djokovic’s eighth victory in his career after losing the first two sets of the match. Before Friday, Djokovic was 1-6 at the US Open when he lost the first two sets, the only win coming against Roger Federer in the 2011 semifinals.
Once he had control, he held on tight and never let Jerry recover. In the fifth set, Djokovic was as calm as possible and collected 12 points out of 14, which leaves no doubt about how things will go.
Djokovic, who improved to 38-11 in five sets over his career, has won three of his record 23 Grand Slam titles at Flushing Meadows and finished runner-up six times, including in 2021. -Born from Serbia He did not participate in the US Open last year because he could not travel to the United States as a foreigner who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19; This rule was lifted in May of this year.
Djokovic is the No. 2 seed in New York behind Carlos Alcaraz, and everyone was expecting the two to meet for the tournament on September 10. And it looked as if Jerry, 28, might go off the rails. The year-old, who is also from Serbia, was ranked 32nd.
“Trust me, it was nerve-racking all the way to the last shot,” Djokovic said.
It would have been the biggest victory of Jerry’s career ever: He was trying to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, and came into Friday with an 0-6 record in major tournaments against opponents ranked in the top 10.
The intimidation factor that favors Djokovic in most matches may not have been there. They have known each other for years, training together, spending time as Davis Cup teammates and competing on the tour as doubles.
When the match ended, they met at the net for a hug, and Djokovic applauded as Jerry walked off the court.
As the temperature dropped to about 65 degrees, Jerry came out with a bang. He edged Djokovic in the longest key exchanges.
“Everything was in his attacking zone,” Djokovic said. “It was very difficult for me to find a solution.”
In the first two sets, Jerry scored 28 points out of 44, lasting for five or more hits. Djokovic’s footwork looked a bit off. His control of the ball was as well. He would raise his arms after some mistakes or frown after others.
When Djokovic halfheartedly pushed a forehand long to end the second set, the match had lasted an hour and 33 minutes, and everything was going Jerry’s way.
As he usually does when running late, Djokovic headed to the locker room between sets to change. As he often does, Djokovic came out a different player.
“I talked a little bit about being excited in the mirror. I kind of laughed at myself because I was so nervous,” Djokovic said. “I forced myself to… boost morale.”
He finally broke for the first time all evening to take a 2-0 lead in the third set, winning 27 points when Jerry surrendered a forehand into the net.
Djokovic waved his arms and waved his hands to ask the crowd to high-five him. This group will be gone in no time.
“Once I got the break in the third game, I thought: ‘Okay. I have a chance. I have a chance. I might as well go for it,'” he said.
Djokovic broke to start the fourth game, using his elite defensive skills to prolong a point until he hit a forehand winner as Jerry was off balance.
Djokovic turned to his coach Goran Ivanisevic and the rest of his companions in the stands, screaming and punching the air twice.
Later in that set, Djokovic ranged too far to his right to extend a point that was wide of the doubles fairway, and Gier – who was likely surprised to see the ball heading towards him – missed a forehand.
That was part of a pattern that would be repeated along the stretch. has been sent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
“Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner.”