After losing his first tie-break of the year in the opening set, Novak Djokovic raised his game on Tuesday at the US Open to improve to 25-0 this year.
The World No. 1 struck 51 winners to overcome Kyle Edmund 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 and extend his unbeaten start to the year. Djokovic has now won 28 consecutive matches, dating back to November 2019.
“It was anybody’s game really for a set and a half,” said Djokovic. “I made some breaks and then obviously after winning the second set I felt more comfortable. I was returning better, I started to read his serve better and I was pleased with my serve. Overall, it was a very good test and I am happy to get through.”
The World No. 1 has trailed by a set in three of his four most recent matches, but has consistently produced his best level in key games to change the momentum and charge to victory. At last week’s Western & Southern Open, Djokovic rallied from a set down in both his semi-final and final encounters to clinch a record-equalling 35th ATP Masters 1000 trophy.
Djokovic improves to 6-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against Edmund. The top seed also trailed Edmund by a set at Wimbledon in 2018, before coming back to earn another four-set victory.
Djokovic is bidding to capture a fourth US Open trophy and 18th Grand Slam title. The Western & Southern Open champion, who has won five of the past seven major titles, is currently in third place on the Grand Slam titles leaderboard. Djokovic is two trophies behind 19-time major champion Rafael Nadal and three crowns behind 20-time Grand Slam titlist Roger Federer.
On a humid day in New York, Edmund came prepared with three pairs of shoes and an impressive game plan. The New York Open champion, who has been seen switching his shoes during changeovers, fired a series of powerful forehands in the first-set tie-break to take a one-set lead.
Edmund converted his first set point at 6/5 with a huge serve down the T, ending Djokovic’s perfect 10-0 record in tie-breaks this year. Djokovic entered the contest with a 19-1 record in his past 20 tie-breaks, dating back to his 2019 Wimbledon final victory against Roger Federer.
“Kyle played a fantastic first set,” said Djokovic. “He didn’t do much wrong, he served very well and was aggressive from the back of the court. Usually his forehand is a weapon, but [his] backhand, especially in the first set, was very strong, very solid.”
Djokovic moved away from an unsuccessful tactic of using drop shots in the second set and was gifted an early break at 2-1 when Edmund committed two double faults. The Serbian served with confidence to reach 5-3, where he recovered from 0/30 down to level the match. Djokovic clinched the set by landing his ninth ace of the match.
What. A. Forehand.
Novak Djokovic answers back and takes the second set 6-3