Djokovic, Zverev cruise into US Open 3rd round; Barty sees off Danish teen

(Update 1: changes head, adds Novak Djokovic’s match)

New York City, Sep 2 (EFE).- Serbian world no. 1 Novak Djokovic cruised to an easy win against Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in his second round match of the US Open on Thursday.

Djokovic, 34, defeated Griekspoor 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour 39 minutes to advance to the third round.

The Serbian struck 13 aces, had five double faults, hit 33 winners to 20 unforced errors and gave up his serve once.

Djokovic is aiming to become the first player since Australia’s Rod Laver in 1969 to complete a men’s calendar Grand Slam at the US Open.

“Great performance. Definitely better than the first-round match. Obviously I’m very pleased with the way I came out on the court. I served very well, I found the rhythm on the serve,” Djokovic said.

The Serbian’s third-round opponent will be Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who beat Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-6, 6-3.

Earlier in the day, German world No. 4 Alexander Zverev produced yet another stellar performance during the summer hard-court season, routing Albert Ramos Viñolas 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 to book his place in the third round of the US Open.

The Tokyo Olympics men’s singles gold medalist and Cincinnati Masters champion showed no signs of cooling off against the veteran Spaniard, once again dominating play on the strength of his big first serve.

Zverev’s biggest weapon was extremely reliable and effective on Thursday, with the German putting a very high 81 percent of his first serves in play and winning all but three of those points (40 of 43).

Including his first-round victory on Tuesday over American Sam Querrey, the 2020 US Open runner-up has put 74 percent of his first serves in play, won 91 percent of his first-serve points and not faced a single break point.

But Zverev’s strong serving has overshadowed his equally outstanding return game thus far in New York.

After securing four service breaks in three sets against the big-serving Querrey, he won more than half (52 percent) of the points on Ramos-Viñolas’ serve and broke his opponent on seven occasions.

Zverev was utterly dominant in grabbing a 6-1, 6-0, 3-0, although Ramos Viñolas managed to string together three straight service holds at the end of the match to make the score a bit more respectable.

“My serve is kind of the key to my game,” Zverev said afterward. “When it’s working I’m playing great. When it’s not, I’m losing matches like I did at Wimbledon. It’s no secret that my serve is probably the most important shot in my game, and I’m happy with how it’s working. The matches are not going to get easier and I will need that to be my weapon.”

Next up for Zverev in the third round will be the winner of the match between American Jack Sock and Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik.

Zverev is on a potential collision course in the semifinals with Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is bidding to become the first men’s player in more than 50 years to win all four major titles (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open) in the same calendar year.

Djokovic had been trying to win the so-called Golden Slam, but he was thwarted by Zverev in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics.

Like Zverev, Australian world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty also came into the US Open full of confidence after winning her maiden Wimbledon title and the Cincinnati event.

But she has not yet found her highest level in New York and struggled for her second straight match, having to dig deep in the second set on Thursday before overcoming Danish 18-year-old Clara Tauson 6-1, 7-5.

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