Novak Djokovic qualifies for the third round of the US Open by defeating Bernabe Zapata Miralles



CNN

Novak Djokovic continues to impress in his return to the US Open, edging Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles in straight sets to reach the third round.

The Serbian player is looking forward to increasing his record tally of 23 Grand Slam titles for men, and the ease of winning 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 indicates that winning the tournament is possible.

Zapata Miralles battled through the first set, but Djokovic’s form showed throughout the remainder of the match.

“It was a difficult match, especially in the first set, given the circumstances,” Djokovic said during his on-court interview after the match.

“I think then when the whole pitch was in the shade it was a bit easier, but there was still a lot of humidity and on the pitch you can feel it more because of the hard pitch, the heat is absorbed into the surface.”

Despite winning in straight sets, the world number two still believes there is room for improvement in his game, especially during that tough first set.

“You just have to accept it, embrace it and try to make the most of it. I didn’t start the match very well, but the second and third sets were at least a few levels higher than the first, so I’m very happy with the way I finished the match,” he said.

Djokovic dominated throughout the second and third sets and was simply better than his opponent, ranked No. 76 in the world.

The Serbian has won the US Open three times, but says he still retains the same desire for the tournament that he always had, citing the New York crowd as a key factor.

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“I’m happy to be back in New York, and I’m happy to play here with Arthur Ashe in front of you guys,” Djokovic added after the match.

“That’s what gives me strength, that’s what gives me motivation at 36 years old and 20 years after coming to New York. I’m still hungry, I still have the desire to give my best on this field.

Djokovic arrived at Flushing Meadows in good shape after winning the Western & Southern Open earlier this month – his first tournament on US soil since 2021 due to his unblocked status.

The 36-year-old will face compatriot Laslo Gere in the third round. Jerry defeated French player Hugo Gaston in straight sets during the second round.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 30: Novak Djokovic of Serbia responds to Bernabé Zapata Miralles of Spain during their men's singles second round match on day two of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30.  2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York City.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Elsewhere, there was an early upset with Stefanos Tsitsipas losing in five sets to Dominik Stricker in the second round.

Tsitsipas is ranked seventh in the world but was locked in a battle from the start against Stricker, ranked No. 128.

Stricker, in his first appearance at the US Open, eventually won 7-5, 6-7, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 after a huge match that lasted four hours and four minutes, reaching the third round in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. time.

“This is a great day for me, such a great win,” Stricker said after the match. “It gives me a lot of confidence and I think it’s great to see that from my team. We work hard every day and it’s great to do that.”

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