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Djokovic advances to US Open 3rd round; Garcia upsets top-seeded Pliskova

New York, Sep 2 (efe-epa).- Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic was far from his top level during much of his US Open second-round match here Wednesday afternoon against Kyle Edmund, but he eventually found his groove to record a 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

But the top seed in women’s singles, Czech Karolina Pliskova, was unable to recover from a dreadful start and fell 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) to unseeded 50th-ranked Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.

Djokovic began slowly against his British opponent, who rallied effectively from the baseline against the 17-time Grand Slam champion and took advantage of his early nerves to snag the first-set tiebreaker.

The Serbian took longer than usual to kick his normally devastating return game into high gear on Arthur Ashe Stadium, with Edmund managing to win all six of his service games in the first set.

In the tiebreaker, it appeared the Brit had made a costly blunder when he mistakenly chose not to volley a ball in a net exchange while leading 5-4, instead letting it pass by him and land in the corner near the baseline.

But Edmund shook off that judgment error and won the set with an ace two points later.

The British world No. 44 then continued to pose problems for Djokovic in the second set.

Although Edmund was broken in the fourth game, he recorded three other service holds and forced the world No. 1 to rally from a 0-30 deficit when serving out the set in the ninth game.

But the British player then won fewer than half of his service points the rest of the way and was broken on five more occasions.

Djokovic raced out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, although he uncharacteristically lost his serve twice in a row when serving at 4-2 and 5-2 before finishing the set off with a love service hold.

His form was then much better in the third set.

Having shaken off the early-match nerves, he started zipping lasers all over the court and gave himself some momentum and extra confidence heading into his third-round match against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who defeated American Michael Mmoh 6-2, 6-2, 7-5 on Wednesday.

“It was anybody’s game really for a set and a half,” the 33-year-old Djokovic was quoted as saying by the ATP Tour’s website after recording his 25th straight win to start the 2020 season.

“I made some breaks and then obviously after winning the second set I felt more comfortable. I was returning better, I started to read his serve better and I was pleased with my serve. Overall, it was a very good test and I am happy to get through.”

Pliskova, however, was unable to escape a dangerous second-round opponent on Wednesday.

She seemed to have seized the momentum after turning a 4-2 second-set deficit into a 5-4 lead, but Garcia escaped a 0-30 hole when serving at 5-6 and then won the last five points of the match in the tiebreaker.

Garcia, a former world No. 4, hit 30 winners to her Czech opponent’s 13, while Pliskova also committed more unforced errors (19-17).

In other US Open men’s singles action on Wednesday afternoon, fifth-seeded German Alexander Zverev advanced to the third round with a 7-5, 6-7 (8-10), 6-3, 6-1 victory over promising young American Brandon Nakajima and seventh-seeded Belgian David Goffin topped South Africa’s Lloyd Harris 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

In other second-round women’s singles matches, sixth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova defeated Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 and German No. 17 seed Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion, defeated countrywoman Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). EFE-EPA

/mc

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