World Number One Novak Djokovic has scaled through to make the US Open third round, defeating Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero at Flushing Meadows arena, despite battling a shoulder injury.
The Serbian professional tennis player needed treatment three times, but still went on to win 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 winning in two hours and 15 minutes.
The Serb revealed “It was definitely affecting my serve and my backhand,” said Djokovic, who lost his serve five times.
The top seed added he had not felt that “kind of sensation too many times” in his career.
“I didn’t know if I would be able to finish the match. I’m really glad I have,” he added
Djokovic, 32, is favourite to win his fourth title at Flushing Meadows arena in New York after winning four of the past five Grand Slams, yet the sight of him needing intense massages in his second-round match may provide hope to his rivals that the Serb is not invincible.
Djokovic asked for a first medical timeout immediately before breaking back for 3-3 in the first set, calling the trainer again moments after he clinched the opener by outlasting Londero in a 22-shot rally.
Londero, who had never played in the main draw at Flushing Meadows until this tournament, managed to take advantage in a fluctuating second set where he led 3-0 and trailed 5-3 before forcing a tie-break.
However, Djokovic increased the intensity of the play to dominate the second-set decider and encountered few problems as he showed little sign of frustration throughout the first two sets, although hammering a ball into the court between serves when Londero broke again at the start of the third set did indicate his displeasure and discomfort.
Nevertheless, Djokovic quickly ran away with the final set as Londero starting racking up unforced errors.
“I was also lucky to find my way back in the second set and to win in straight sets,” Djokovic added.
“At changeovers, I tried to use within the rules as much as I can physiotherapy and medical help. That has definitely helped me stay in the match.
“The good thing about Grand Slams is you have a day off in between the matches. I’m hoping that with proper medical help and treatments, I’ll be able to get myself in a better state than I was today,” he said
While, Fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic will be Djokovic’s next opponent if he beats American Denis Kudla their meeting was one of the many second-round matches cancelled on Wednesday after rain decimated play in New York.
Only the eight matches played underneath the closed roofs on Arthur Ashe Stadium – where 16-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic beat Londero in the first match of the night session – and Louis Armstrong Stadium survived the drizzle which fell for the majority of the third day.
By Olukayode Oniwinde