Tennis News: Novak Djokovic advances to the second round after the 18-year-old Danish qualifier runs himself into the ground against the top seed. Djokovic is attempting to become the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Grand Slams in the same year.
Novak Djokovic won a wobbly four-set victory over Danish teenager Holger Rune in the first round of the US Open, kicking off his effort to make tennis history.
The world No. 1 lost the second set to the tenacious Rune, who was attempting to win his fourth Flushing Meadows title and become the first man to complete the calendar Grand Slam in 52 years.
However, in the third set, the teenager began cramping and was unable to mount a further fight, as Djokovic won 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-1.
“It’s never fun to finish a match like that,” says the player. Holger deserves a standing ovation. “It’s unfortunate,” Djokovic said.
“I was trying to get a sense of where the ball was out there.” It wasn’t my best effort, but he played well, and I didn’t serve effectively in the second set’s crucial moments. It was tough for him to talk about the contest after that because he couldn’t move much.
“When I was younger, that happened to me. Things like these happen. You could see he was going through a lot, and I feel bad for him. I’m sure we’ll be seeing him a lot in the future.”
📸: Sarah Stier pic.twitter.com/ZLLybr42jf
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) September 1, 2021
Djokovic, 34, was playing his first match since missing out on a bronze medal at the Olympics, and he showed no signs of rust early on, breaking Rune’s serve and winning the first set in just 26 minutes.
However, at the opening of the second set, Rune broke Djokovic to love and had the Serbian terrified as he took the tie-break to square the match.
Djokovic had a strange set, with five double faults and 15 unforced errors telling their own narrative.
However, although the Arthur Ashe crowd was anticipating a major upset, Rune’s fitness began to fail him, and the final set and half were difficult to watch.
Alexander Zverev, who denied Djokovic a Golden Slam by defeating him on his way to the gold medal at the Olympics, is through after defeating American veteran Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 6-2.
Last year, the German fourth seed was runner-up at Flushing Meadows and is chasing his maiden Grand Slam championship.
He did, however, admit “You have to give a player the favourite card if he wins three majors in a year and then plays in the US Open. After all, if not now, when? He’s won, three majors.
“To be honest, I believe I was the first person to beat him this season on a hard court or grass court, and I was also the only person to beat him at a major event.
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