The World no.1 Novak Djokovic admitted that he wasn’t at his best in the opening set of his third round encounter against Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Djokovic lost the first set in the tiebreaker by 7-4 but bounced back stronger as he mostly does in the next three sets to win the match by 6-7(4) 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in three hours and 32 minutes and confirm his place his in the Round of 16.
Djokovic saved 11 of 13 breakpoints whereas he converted nine of his 16 as he once again won the crucial points in the game. The Serbian admitted that it took him some time to adjust to Nishikori’s game as he was different from the first two opponents but found his groove against the Japanese in the second set and didn’t look back.
In fact, this was the 18th win for Djokovic against Nishikori as he once again dominated the Japanese player. The World no.1 has lost only two matches against Nishikori.
“I don’t think I started off very well,” Djokovic said. “I was quite passive. I was too far back in the court. He was dictating the play. I was still trying to find the rhythm, find the tempo. Obviously he played much quicker and more aggressive than my opponents in the opening rounds did, so it took me a little bit of time to adjust to his game.
“I think beginning of the second set I already felt like I’m getting the groove back, I’m getting that rhythm back. I was very pleased with the focus. Maybe at some points I wasn’t at my best, but overall I was determined, I was concentrated and that’s what matters in the end.”
On the other hand, Nishikori admitted that Djokovic was the better player despite the fact he was playing well in the initial stages.
“Well, [it was a] tough loss,” Nishikori said in his post-match press conference. “I thought I was playing much better than the last couple matches we played [but] in some moments he was playing very solid that I couldn’t, like, break the wall.”
Djokovic will next face 20-year old American Jensen Brooksby in the Fourth Round of the US Open.