New York, Sep 4 (EFE).- World No. 1 Novak Djokovic kept his hopes of a calendar-year Grand Slam alive Saturday with a 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Kei Nishikori in the third round of the US Open.
After dropping the first set, the 34-year-old recovered to win the next three and extend his dominance over Japan’s Nishikori, who has lost 17 straight matches to the Serb.
Nishikori, a US Open finalist in 2014, rattled Djokovic with an aggressive approach and the 2021 Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon champion trophies finished the opening set with 20 unforced errors.
But the Serbian settled down after that, aside from a brief lapse in the third set, and moved on to the fourth round for the 14th time.
A triumph at Flushing Meadow would make Djokovic the first man to win the calendar-year Grand Slam since Australian legend Rod Laver did it in 1969.
He would likewise be the first man to win 21 Grand Slam trophies.
Currently, Djokovic, Swiss great Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal are tied at 20 Slams apiece.
“Really amazing match to be a part of,” Djokovic said afterward on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium. “Great experience. Big credit to Kei who played on a very, very high level today.”
Asked to evaluate his own performance, the world No. 1 said that he was “too passive” at the start.
“I was very pleased with the focus. Maybe at some points, I wasn’t at my best, but overall I was determined, I was concentrated,” Djokovic said. EFE ss/dr