Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

American Men Deflated, but Djokovic Is Elated

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

American Men Deflated, but Djokovic Is Elated

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Novak Djokovic is relaxed, happy and playing some of his best tennis when it matters most: at the U.S. Open.

The same cannot be said for the American men, because none of them made it to Week 2 of the Open.

Djokovic, the No. 1 player in the world, took another leap forward Saturday, with a convincing 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, win over American Sam Querrey in the third round.

When John Isner lost an excruciating match to Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4), all of the American men's singles players were gone.

Isner had 42 aces, and was never broken by the German. But he was shaky in the tiebreakers, losing all three, and ultimately falling to Kohlschreiber in the third round for the third consecutive year.

"I didn't play the big points well," Isner said. "I had a good amount of chances, I just couldn't pull through. It's very disappointing."

No U.S. man has won the Open since Andy Roddick in 2003, which is also the last time an American man won any Grand Slam title.

With the Americans gone, the attention shifts to Djokovic, who is steamrolling toward a potential matchup with Roger Federer in the final. Djokovic will play Kohlschreiber in the fourth round.

"It's peaking at the right time, at the right tournament," Djokovic said of his game. "This is where I want to play my best tennis. I haven't done as well as I wanted in lead-up tournaments."

Just a few weeks ago, Djokovic was nowhere near the top of his game. He lost in the third round in both tune-up tournaments earlier this month, falling in Cincinnati and Toronto.

But after taking stock of what went wrong -- particularly in the 2-6, 2-6 loss to Jo Wilfried Tsonga in Toronto -- Djokovic realized his trouble wasn't a fundamental breakdown or a sore body.

"I didn't know how emotionally drained I was in a way until I played Tsonga in Canada," Djokovic said. …

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