Novak Djokovic in action during a men’s singles match at the 2023 US Open, Friday, Sep. 1, 2023 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)
(September 2, 2023) FLUSHING, NY – No. 2 Novak Djokovic survived a five-set test on Friday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium from his Serbian countryman Laslo Djere by winning 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round of the US Open.
Djokovic won 18 out of the last 23 games to complete the comeback.
“Well, I would say two different matches, the first two sets, then the last three,” said Djokovic. “Scoreline maybe doesn’t do justice for the third and fourth. I think it was much closer than 6-1, 6-1.
“I thought he played terrific. I mean, I honestly have never seen him play like this. He was feeling the ball extremely well. Everything was kind of in his striking zone. He was tactically prepared very well.
“I think he started off the match very, very good. He was far more comfortable than me. I was defending mostly in the first two sets.
“To be honest, I could have and should have played better, on a high level in these two sets, but huge credit to him for making me uncomfortable on the court and playing really some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play.
“Congrats to him. Tough luck to him. I told him at the net he should keep going because if he’s going to continue playing this way, he’s only going to work his way up in the rankings. He’s a terrific guy, works extremely hard. Tonight he shows that he deserves to be ranked much higher than he is.”
Djokovic is seeking his fourth US Open title in order to win his 24th major title which would tie him for the all-time record with Margaret Court.
“I think the message is sent to the rest of the field that obviously I’m still able to play five sets deep at night, ” Djokovic said after the match. “Coming from two sets down always sends a strong message to the future opponents.
“At the same time I’m not really wanting to be in this position, to be honest. I prefer a straight-set win. Hopefully I can get back on that track in the next match.”
Djokovic will play Croatia’s Borna Gojo for a place in final 8 on Sunday.
Gojo defeated Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.