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HomeCruiseDjokovic eases past Zapata Miralles into U.S. Open third round

Djokovic eases past Zapata Miralles into U.S. Open third round

[1/5] Tennis – U.S. Open – Flushing Meadows, New York, United States – August 30, 2023 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his second round match against Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles REUTERS/Mike Segar Acquire Licensing Rights
NEW YORK, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic overcame some minor early issues to cruise past Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-4 6-1 6-1 in the second round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday, as he continues his hunt for a 24th Grand Slam title.
More accustomed to the bright lights of the New York night session, the Serbian star instead absorbed the muggy midday August heat, firing off 35 winners to set up a meeting with compatriot Laslo Djere in the third round.
“It has been a tough match especially in the first set with the conditions,” said Djokovic, who added that he was able to find his rhythm once the searing sun gave way to a late afternoon shadow across the court.
“I didn’t start off the match very well but the second and third set have been at least a couple of levels higher.”
A handful of unforced errors were all that separated Djokovic and his unseeded opponent in the first set, as the three-time champion overcame early inaccuracy on his first serve and converted a break point chance in the fourth game.
The Spaniard lost his resolve in the second set, kicking the ball frustration after a botched overhead smash in the second game, and Djokovic broke in the third and fifth games.
Zapata Miralles helped the 36-year-old break again in the seventh game with a double fault and a clumsy error.
Djokovic saved four break points early in the final set, where he fell and rolled onto his hip in the third game, taking his time getting up off the court as he showed his age for a fleeting moment.
But if he were rattled he scarcely showed it, winning the final five games before closing out the match with a forehand winner.
The Serb is already assured of retaking the world number one spot when the rankings are updated after the tournament after winning his opening match.
He beat his next opponent Djere in their only prior meeting at Belgrade last year.
Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York Editing by Toby Davis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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