TENNIS

Djokovic trounces Nishikori, moves on to US Open 4th round

After a shaky start, Novak Djokovic hit his stride to handily beat Kei Nishikori in his third round match at the US Open and moved closer to making tennis history.

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Djokovic trounces Nishikori, moves on to US Open 4th round
KENA BETANCUR AFP

Djokovic recovered from a first set loss and defeated the Japanese in a three-and-a-half-hour encounter, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Nishikori has been the Serb’s most seasoned opponent so far in the tournament, with Djokovic disposing of less experienced players in the first and second rounds, Denmark’s Holger Rune (ranked 145th) and Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor (ranked 121st).

The top seed struggled in the opening set, with No. 56 Nikishori winning just his fourth set over Djokovic out of the 33 they have played against each other.

Djokovic strikes back

But the Serb got into his groove, breaking Nikishori twice in the second set. He never looked back after taking control, and left the Japanese no hope for a comeback.

Djokovic suffered a loss at the hands of Nishikori at the 2014 US Open to advance to the final. Since then the world number one has dominated the Japanese, reaching 17 straight wins against him with this latest match.

The Serb had last handed Nishikori a defeat at the Tokyo Olympics, 6-2,6-0.

Djokovic: On the brink of tennis history

Djokovic showed his emotions during the game, raising his fist to celebrate a point and asking fans to make more noise by cupping his ear toward the audience,

He is now a step closer to completing a Grand Slam. The last man to win all four of the major events in one season was Rod Laver in 1969, while Steffi Graf, the last woman, achieved the feat in 1988.

If Djokovic wins at Flushing Meadows, he would also clinch his 21st Grand slam trophy, breaking the men’s record he currently holds with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Djokovic will face American Jenson Brooksby, ranked 99th, in the fourth round.