Djokovic repels net-charging Lopez to advance

Wed Sep 9, 2015 2:45am EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top seed Novak Djokovic was tested by net-charging Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in a duel of volleys and passing shots before booking a berth in the U.S. Open semi-finals in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

On a hot, humid night at Flushing Meadows, Djokovic waged an entertaining battle with the 33-year-old serve-and-volleyer, before finishing off the 18th seed 7-2 in the fourth set tiebreaker to complete a 6-1 3-6 6-3 7-6(2) victory.

Lopez won 28-of-41 serve-and-volley points, while Djokovic countered with 33 forays to the net that produced 19 points for the world number one.

"He's one of the rare players who actually serves and volleys after the first and second serves," said Djokovic, winner of this year's Australian Open and Wimbledon championships. "He's got a very big serve."

Lopez served up 14 aces, while Djokovic registered nine.

"It was anybody's game in the fourth set," the Serb said. "I'm just glad to get through in four."

Djokovic had beaten Lopez in their five previous meetings but the lefty was confident, coming off a Cincinnati hardcourt event where he reached the quarters with wins over Milos Raonic and Rafa Nadal before losing to world number two Roger Federer.

"My game plan was to be aggressive," Lopez said. "He was having some trouble reading my serve.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates defeating Feliciano Lopez in their quarterfinal match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 9, 2015.       REUTERS/Carlo Allegri