Djokovic drops tiebreak but rallies for 4-set win

Novak Djokovic fell behind when he lost a tiebreaker for the first time this year but rallied past Kyle Edmund in the second round of the US Open on Wednesday in New York.

The top-seeded Djokovic won 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Seeking his fourth US Open title, Djokovic lost a physical first set that took more than an hour. He had been 10-0 in tiebreakers previously this year.

Djokovic dominated from there, and he won for the 19th time in his past 20 Grand Slam matches. He is 25-0 this year, including his 17th major title at the Australian Open. Going back to late last season, his winning streak is 28 matches overall.

Djokovic hit 16 aces and lost only 12 points on his first serve.

“I’m actually glad I did drop a set and got tested the way I did today against Kyle. I expected it to be a tough, tough task,” said Djokovic, who has won five of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments to raise his major trophy total to 17, three behind Roger Federer and two behind Rafael Nadal.

“I’m really glad having an early kind of tough match in the tournament,” Djokovic said, “because it kind of serves me better, I think, for the rest of the tournament.”

Next up for him is No. 28 Jan-Lennard Struff, someone Djokovic defeated 6-3, 6-1 last week at the Western & Southern Open.

Djokovic is among eight players who chose to rent one of the private Long Island homes the USTA made available — at a cost of $40,000 — instead of opting for the official tournament hotel options, as most players competing at Flushing Meadows amid the coronavirus pandemic did. Djokovic said Wednesday that the choice was an “obvious” one.

“Being in a hotel, you’re unable to open the window in the room. You constantly have to be with a mask indoors, outdoors, everywhere. You can’t really go out, spend time in the garden, maybe, outdoors,” he said. “I saw the hotel. The hotel is not in a best position in terms of having nature around. It’s very close to the highway.”

Earlier Wednesday, Alexander Zverev won his second-round match, using a dominant serve to beat 19-year-old American wild card Brandon Nakashima 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-3, 6-1.

Zverev, who is seeded fifth, regrouped after losing the tiebreaker when he double-faulted with a 133 mph serve. He overcame 10 double faults, hit 24 aces and won every service game.

Zverev advanced to his first career Grand Slam semifinal at this year’s Australian Open. His best showing at the US Open came last year, when he reached the fourth round.

Other winners Wednesday included No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 7 David Goffin.

Tsitsipas made it to the Open’s third round by withstanding the so-rare-these-days serve-and-volley style of his 168th-ranked American opponent, Maxime Cressy.

Tsitsipas won 7-6 (2), 6-3, 6-4 on a humid night in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“It’s always great breaking a sweat,” the 22-year-old from Greece joked.

He was a semifinalist at the 2019 Australian Open and has reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and the French Open but hadn’t been past the second round at Flushing Meadows.

To do so, Tsitsipas needed to figure out Cressy, who went to the net a total of 92 times, winning 52 of those points. Tsitsipas moved forward only 20 times.

Cressy played serve-and-volley tennis 73 times, 67 more than Tsitsipas.

“His game is very difficult to read,” Tsitsipas said. “You don’t get to play against players like this very often … and you have to adjust as soon as possible.”

Tsitsipas now faces No. 27 seed Borna Coric.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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