Djokovic, Nishikori march into third round

Novak Djokovic moved into the US Open third round with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2 victory over Tennys Sandgren.

“I thought I played very well for the first two sets, two sets and a half, and then lost it mentally, Djokovic said. “I’m not happy with the way I lost concentration and composure but I managed to regroup in the fourth.”

Djokovic edged the key points in the first set and broke Sandgren twice in the second, winning the final four games.

With the home crowd behind him, Sandgren rallied in the third set, although he had to save a match point at 5-4 before forcing a tie-break.

The big-hitting Sandgren prevailed in the breaker, but it was a false dawn, Djokovic racing to victory in a fourth set that only lasted 33 minutes.

“It’s a work in progress still. We are working daily on trying to perfect the game and put it together. Obviously last couple months have been really, really good in terms of results,” Djokovic said.

“That’s what’s exciting about this sport and about my game in general, is that I still feel there are certain elements in my game that need some betterment,” he said. “That’s why you hit the practice courts daily and try to perfect the game.”

Djokovic faces Richard Gasquet next, against whom he has a 12-1 record, with the Frenchman’s only victory coming in 2007.

The 26th seed reached the third round with a 6-3, 7-6(7-5), 6-3 win over Laslo Djere of Serbia.

Meanwhile, No.7 seed Marin Cilic only dropped two games in a straight sets demolition of Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

“It was one of those days when everything worked incredibly well,” Cilic said after dispatching his opponent in just 79 minutes.

Kei Nishikori also had a short match after Gael Monfils was forced to retire due to a wrist injury with the Japanese player leading 6-2, 5-4.

“Well, unfortunately it finish for him,” Nishikori said after the match. “We always battle. Play great match all the time. So he’s, like, my rival. It’s always fun to play against him.”

His next opponent will be No. 13 seed Diego Schwartzman, who advanced after a four-set win over Jaume Munar of Spain.

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