Classy Djokovic eases into last 16 in New York

Sat Sep 4, 2010 10:12pm EDT
 
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By Matt Majendie

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serbia's Novak Djokovic marked himself out as a serious contender for the U.S. Open crown with a clinical 6-1 7-6 6-3 win over American James Blake on Saturday that secured him a spot in the fourth round.

The number three seed, a runner-up in New York in 2007, had looked out of sorts in his opening match at Flushing Meadows when he was forced to five sets.

But despite being taken to a second-set tiebreak by Blake, he rarely looked in danger of conceding a set in a masterclass in tough conditions which, at times, silenced the crowd.

"I think the focus today was great - just the patience in this weather, finding the right way to play in the certain moments," said Djokovic.

"It's a big mental struggle when you have such a strong wind to find a way how to try to play good tennis, especially if you have somebody across the net who is so aggressive, taking everything early and playing a risky game."

The American flag on top of the big screen on Arthur Ashe was whipped into a frenzy by the high winds but a rusty Blake failed to do the same to his home crowd.

The hometown favorite, who has been nursing knee, shoulder and hamstring injuries in recent weeks, was the crowd favorite from the moment the pair stepped on court.

But his ground strokes were wayward and he only managed to hold serve for the first time in the sixth game of the match, allowing Djokovic to race away with the opening set.   Continued...