World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia moved closer to completing his Grand Slam dream by dismissing Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the US Open.
Djokovic has won the season’s first three majors at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. The Serbian kept his hopes of lifting the trophy at Flushing Meadows after one hour and 39 minutes.
Djokovic, who surprisingly lost a set in the first round against Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune of Denmark, got back on track against Griekspoor behind 32 winners and just 20 unforced errors in a Thursday evening match. The 34-year-old broke six times from 10 opportunities to triumph.
“Great performance. Definitely better than the first-round match,” Djokovic said. “Obviously I’m very pleased with the way I came out on the court. I served very well, I found the rhythm on the serve. It was important I came up with the goods.”
It was a tough challenge for Griekspoor in his first match inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Not only was he playing the top seed and three-time US Open winner, but last Thursday he was in doubt for the tournament due to visa issues and the 25-year-old had to practice on clay.
Djokovic took full advantage, controlling the action against the world No. 121, who upset big-hitting Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany in the first round. Djokovic, the 20-time major titlist, was not perfect, dropping serve in the second set and facing a 0/40 deficit in one service game in the third — from which he rallied to hold — but he was never under pressure.
“I made him play. I saw him [for the] first time playing in his first-round match a couple days ago with Struff, saw he was serving really well, so I knew that one of the biggest keys was my return, trying to make him play, trying to make him move,” Djokovic said. “He’s not the greatest mover on the court. I tried to give him always a different look.
“All in all very good, very good. I’m very pleased with the level of my tennis. All is going in the right direction,” Djokovic told atptour.com.
Djokovic closed out the match with his 12th ace to set a clash against former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori of Japan, who beat American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-7(5), 2-6, 6-3 after three hours and 57 minutes. The Serbian leads the Japanese star 17-2 in their head-to-head.
“Obviously I love the challenge. Now he’s one of the best on the tennis tour. It’s not someone I love to play all the time, because obviously he’s the toughest opponent, one or two,” Nishikori said. “I’d rather have someone ranked lower.
“But I always love the challenge. Even though I have a bad record, I always try to be positive. I’m sure it’s going to be a tough one, but I’ll do my best.”