The ATP has officially concluded its third day of action at the US Open and there are plenty of storylines to discuss. Here are the three biggest from today’s action.
1. Novak Djokovic – His victory and upcoming schedule
Novak Djokovic made quite the headline today after failing to take the first set in a match for just the fifth time all year (in 25 matches) dating back to the ATP Cup in January. Despite the close score, a 7-6(5) set win for Kyle Edmund, it was almost more worrying that Djokovic had lost a set in this fashion.
In all 24 matches prior to today, Djokovic had faced a total of ten tiebreaks and took them all in vintage Novak fashion. It’s widely known in the tennis community that, when the score is tight and the match goes into extra games, there’s no one better than him. He’s the best player under pressure of all-time, based on the ATP’s Under Pressure Rating system, and by a wide margin at that. Djokovic also ranks second in tiebreaks won percentage with 65.15% (only behind Roger Federer’s 65.29 for all-time best).
Novak Djokovic’s 2020 undefeated season surely couldn’t come to an end now and he certainly proved it. We discussed Andy Murray’s champion attitude that wills him through matches; Djokovic is the same exact way. Sometimes, if the energy from fans aren’t there, it has to come from within.
He eventually prevailed after a scary start to the match, taking it (5)6-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. While it’s true that his 2020 season, whatever the end result will be, can’t be judged alongside some of the best single-seasons in history just yet, he’s certainly on a path to do so. As for now, the comparisons between this year and his 42-0 start to his 2011 campaign only grow larger as he extends his streak to an undefeated 25-0. Whether or not he’ll finish as dominant statistically as that season, or record-wise like his 2015 season, is yet to be determined.
The current poster child of tennis will move on to the third round and face Jan-Lennard Struff, who gathered a convincing win of his own today in straight sets. This will be their third meeting this season (the most Djokovic has had to face any opponent so far in 2020). While the drubbing last week doesn’t give much confidence to the underdog, Struff gave Djokovic a fair amount of trouble during the Australian Open’s first round as he took the third set 6-2 in a relatively tight four-set loss.
Djokovic’s path to the title is only getting clearer with each win, and as he steadily moves trough the draw, it becomes more apparent that the list of players that can take him down are minute at best.