SAN DIEGO, September 1, 2013 – It wasn’t as if Joao Sousa of Portugal played that poorly against Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Djokovic is simply so good he can take apart even a skilled tennis player on the other side of the net.
It only took Djokovic 28 minutes to win the first set in his U.S. Open match against Sousa, 6-0. The friendly crowd in New York started cheering Sousa on to encourage him, roaring with every point won. He managed to win two games in the second set, and he broke Djokovic’s serve in the third set. These were mere speed bumps. Djokovic cruised on to win in three straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 41 minutes.
Sousa, age 24, will learn a lot from this drubbing. He didn’t embarrass himself despite the score, and American fans should look forward to seeing this likable young player again.
After the match, Djokovic said “It’s always a privilege to be in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Before you come out on the court in a night session, you feel an extreme responsibility to play well and entertain the crowd. Hopefully you all enjoyed it tonight.
“It’s the biggest stadium we have in the sport, 23,000 seats. I don’t even see the top of the stadium. But I can hear you very well … New York offers a unique vibe, especially in the night.,” said Djokovic.
Djokovic moves on to play 43rd-ranked Marcel Granollers of Spain, who defeated the last American men’s singles player in the field, Timothy Smyczek, 6-4, 4-6, 0-6, 6-3, 7-5. The audience did its best to cheer Smyczek on in the decisive final set, but Granollers played gritty point after point and simply wore him down. All 15 American men are out, the first time an American men’s singles player has failed to make the Round of 16 in the tournament’s history since it began in 1881.
Mikhail Youzhny of Russia defeated Tommy Haas of Germany in another entertaining and competitive match. Youzhny will now face Australian Lleyton Hewitt in a battle of 30-something veterans in the Round of 16.
In the final marquee matchups of Sunday evening, Li Na had little trouble defeating Jelena Jankovic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0. She joked after the match she passed up her normal pre-match pasta for rice, and it must have made the difference.
Agnieszka Radwanska simply can’t make it past the fourth round in New York. She suffered a 6-4, 6-4 loss to 24th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. It was the fourth time since 2007 that Radwanska left Flushing Meadows in the fourth round.
Vying for a spot in the Round of 16 quarterfinals in games Monday: second seed Victoria Azarenka, surprise wild card Alison Riske of the U.S., Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. Three Italian ladies are still in it: Flavia Pennetta, Camila Giorgi, and Roberta Vinci. On the men’s side, three Spanish players remain. Rafael Nadal will play Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany; Roger Federer will play Tommy Robredo, and David Ferrer will play Janko Tipsarevic. Richard Gasquet of France and Milos Raonic will square off in a top ten match-up.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read Ringside Seat in Communities at Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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