When Novak Djokovic was down 0-4 in the first set tiebreaker, he would have bough a grueling five setter win. It looked like that kind of day during the first set of the fourth round match between Wimbledon champions and World number one player, Novak Djokovic, and Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov. About 70 minutes later with all three sets in the beg, Djokovic was in the quarterfinals.
Lesson number one for Djokovic opponents – get him out of his comfort zone. It’s hard, very hard to, especially with Novak the way he has this year, but the match could have taken a very different course if ‘Nole’s shot during the first setter tie break wouldn’t have bounced off the net, causing the world no. 20 to sent the ball long and out. The momentum was behind the Serb from there.
The 22 year old, who was at the US Open’s fourth round for the first time, was able to move Djokovic around during the first set. His forehand was blasting with brilliant, nearly impossible to reach angles. The backhand? Well, as long as Djokovic couldn’t really grasp some control over the points, those slices were enough to keep Djokovic moving, and going really low in an attempt to hit them back.
But it was, after all, up to the best player in the world. Djokovic was much more dominant and aggressive in the second and third sets. The first serve was landing with much better success (73% in the third set, 6-2). Dolgopolov, as usually with young up and comers, couldn’t keep his shot making at the level it was during the first set.
What’s next for Djokovic? A Serbian derby, facing Janko Tipsarevic. It’s the first time that two Serbian players make the quarterfinals of a grand slam tournament. For Tipsarevic, it’s the first time in a Grand Slam quarterfinal anyway. Anything but a Djokovic win (hasn’t dropped a set yet at the US Open) would be much more than shocking.