With a report of 25-0 this season and closest rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer lacking, how might he not be?
Nonetheless, it was some shock that the Serbian conceded the opener, even when his British opponent possesses one of many greatest forehands within the recreation.
France’s Kristina Mladenovic misplaced a tiebreak but in addition the match in considered one of grand slam tennis’ greatest blown leads, having been up 6-1 5-1 and 4 match factors on the 102nd-ranked Varvara Gracheva.
And ladies’s high seed Karolina Pliskova fell to Mladenovic’s compatriot Caroline Garcia in one other outing that includes a tiebreak, 6-2 7-6 (2). It was a gentle upset, given Garcia is a former top-5 participant and Pliskova has made one quarterfinal at a significant for the reason that begin of 2019.
“I am not a robotic, so I haven’t got to play daily wonderful,” Pliskova, handed the highest seeding due to the absences of Ash Barty and Simona Halep, stated.
Djokovic has been enjoying wonderful within the truncated 2020 marketing campaign and in tiebreaks.
He had gained 18 of his earlier 20 tiebreaks, the lone blemishes each coming in London in opposition to Dominic Thiem on the ATP Finals in November and Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon in July.
Nonetheless, London was additionally the location of his best tiebreak success in a single match. He memorably gained all three in final 12 months’s Wimbledon last in opposition to Federer, not making a single unforced error. That included Wimbledon’s first ever 12-12 tiebreak in a finale.
On a steamy day in New York the place ball individuals wanted to wash sweat marks on courtroom, Djokovic did make a couple of unforced errors within the tiebreak in opposition to Edmund — notably a drop shot into the web when main 4-3.
However an early break within the second bought the 17-time grand slam winner on the trail to victory in opposition to Edmund, who topped Djokovic on the clay in Madrid in 2018 and made the Australian Open semifinals months earlier.
We must always have identified there can be some drama within the tussle, since British gamers had produced their justifiable share of theater the opening two days.
Mladenovic stated she had been positioned in what the US Open has referred to as an enhanced protocol plan — or in her phrases a “bubble within the bubble” — after coming into shut contact with a participant who had examined optimistic for the virus.
For that, she likened it Monday to being in a “nightmare.”
There was one other nightmare for Mladenovic to endure Wednesday, as she “collapsed” in opposition to Gracheva. She held the 4 match factors returning serve at 5-2 within the second set earlier than exiting 1-6 7-6 (2) 6-0.
“Yeah, it is positively essentially the most painful match and loss I’ve had in my profession as a result of it is a grand slam and I used to be 6-1, 5-1 and 0-40,” she informed reporters in English in a Zoom name. “I used to be enjoying actually good tennis there however could not shut it out and convert my match factors. I believe that she saved it properly.
“She was courageous and went for it however I did not take my probabilities and I wish to reply that query however from 5-2 slowly I began feeling that I used to be crashing down and I bought tight and I simply collapsed. I had nothing left within the tank.”
Requested whether or not the additional protocols she had been positioned beneath performed a task within the final result, she replied, “Bodily and mentally I am utterly drained. It is simply worse and worse. I simply wish to thank the USTA for the unreal expertise and, yeah, I do not need to remark.”
Gamers should be used to highs and lows and Mladenovic has actually had each. She is a former doubles No. 1 and former high 10 in singles and led her nation to a long-awaited Fed Cup title final 12 months.
Conversely, moreover the devastating setback in opposition to Gracheva, Mladenovic as soon as misplaced 15 matches in a row.
The losses are nowhere in sight for Djokovic.