Djokovic rolls into US Open second round with win over Dzumhur

Novak Djokovic made short work of Damir Dzumhur to storm into the second round of the US Open. He is on a quest to win his 18th Grand Slam title.

Novak Djokovic

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal not playing the tournament, Novak Djokovic is a heavy favourite to hoist the US Open trophy.   -  Getty Images

Novak Djokovic got his campaign to win a fourth US Open, and an 18th Grand Slam title overall, off to a flying start on Tuesday by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the second round.

Djokovic broke Dzumhur's serve for a seventh time to seal the win in the first night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium court, which, due to COVID-19, was missing the thousands of rowdy New York tennis fans that usually flock to Queens every year.

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Dzumhur had no answer to the world number one's blistering serve and stout defense in a match that lasted just under two hours. The 28-year-old did not make it easy on himself, committing 41 unforced errors and eight double faults.

With the win, Djokovic, who won his fourth title of the year at the Western and Southern Open on Saturday, improved to 24-0 on the season.

- Djokovic embracing the pressure -


“You care about winning a tennis match, obviously you're a professional,” the top seed said on court after setting up a second-round meeting with Briton Kyle Edmund.

“If I didn't care, I wouldn't be here. This is how I play, I play with a lot of intensity and try to bring a lot of energy to the court,” he added.

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In the absence of the two other men vying for the title of the greatest male player of the modern era, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, Djokovic is an odds-on favourite with the bookmakers to win a fourth US Open crown.

That, combined with maintaining the prospect that he might go through the year unbeaten, could weigh on a player with less mental strength.

“I know pressure is a privilege, pressure is part of what we do,” Djokovic added in a news conference.

“I try to embrace it. I know what I need to do and how to behave, how to make myself calm and composed and focused on what really needs to be done,” he added.

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Djokovic admitting to resorting to cliches when he said he would be taking each match as it came at Flushing Meadows but eschewed the usual sporting trope about ignoring statistics when asked about the winning streak.

“Do I want to keep the streak going? Of course, I do,” he said.

“Am I thinking about it as a priority number one every single day? No.

“It's there, and of course it's an additional motivation for me. It actually fuels me to play even stronger, play even better, I think bring the right intensity every match,” he added.

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