NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two-times former champion Novak Djokovic overcame a lapse in concentration to beat unseeded American Tennys Sandgren 6-1 6-3 6-7(2) 6-2 and reach the third round of the U.S. Open on Thursday.
The Serb, who was also pushed to four sets in punishing daytime temperatures above 90 Fahrenheit (32C) in the first round, was far more comfortable in the evening at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, breaking early and running away with the opening set in 31 minutes.
The 31-year-old was two sets up and leading by a break in the third when he spurned a match point, allowing Sandgren to force a tiebreak that the American won easily.
Djokovic, however, recovered well, achieved an early break in the fourth set and closed out the match in two hours, 45 minutes.
“I thought I played really well in the first two sets and then I lost it mentally,” Djokovic said courtside. “I lost my composure and concentration but I got it back in the fourth.”
Djokovic also spoke about the noise from the crowd both between and during points but said it had not been a factor in him losing concentration.
“I was just referring to the atmosphere that the night session at the U.S. Open has,” the sixth seed told reporters.
“I’ve played many times here. It has no connection to my loss of concentration. It was just me, being me sometimes, the other me that my first me doesn’t like.
“You just have to accept it. You can’t expect that 23,000 people are quiet... Wimbledon is all white, it’s tradition. You can’t hear a sound when you play a point. Here it’s different. That’s why these majors are unique in their own way.”
The Serb, who won Wimbledon this year, will face 26th seed Richard Gasquet of France in the third round.
Reporting by Simon Jennings; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Peter Rutherford