Novak Djokovic flawless in 2020 after 'one in a million' moment

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, Novak Djokovic celebrates his Western & Southern Open win over Tennys Sandgren.
Novak Djokovic pulled off a moment of magic in New York that's rarely seen in tennis. Pic: Getty/Tennis TV

Novak Djokovic remains undefeated in 2020, with the World No.1 also managing a stunningly rare feat in his straight sets win in the Western & Southern Open.

The 17-time grand slam champion eased into the quarter-finals of the US Open lead-up event, courtesy of a 6-2 6-4 win against American Tennys Sandgren.

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The world No.1 seemed unphased by the neck pain that forced him to pull out of his doubles opener on Sunday and struggle against qualifier Ricardas Berankis in his singles second round match on Monday.

But he was clinical in his clash with Sandgren, winning 84 per cent of his first-serve points and swatting away all four break points he faced.

Djokovic was also unshakeable up front, winning all 11/11 net points.

The World No.1 even managed to pull off an incredible shot, where he knocked the racquet out of Sandgren's hand.

The American had consigned himself to losing the point as Djokovic smashed a bullet-like overhead shot that jolted the racquet out of the 29-year-old's grip.

Djokovic and his competitors were playing the first ATP Tour event in five months, following the coronavirus pandemic that's shut down the sport.

The Serbian had to be treated for a neck complaint during the match and seemed justifiably short of his peak fitness but managed to stave off all four break points against Sandgren in a solid tune-up for the US Open.

Djokovic winning streak up to 20 matches

"I'm pleasantly surprised with the way I recovered and felt today, just overall physically, but also with the neck specifically," said the 33-year-old Djokovic.

"I'm as closest to painless neck as I can be, just maybe five to 10 per cent more and that's it. I'm feeling very good."

Djokovic is seen in this picture being treated for a neck complaint.
Djokovic has been battling a neck complaint in New York. Pic: Getty

The victory extended Djokovic's flawless winning streak this season to 20 matches, and his next opponent Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff predicts the Serb is looking to go unbeaten in this coronavirus-interrupted season.

"It's crazy, just crazy," Struff said of Djokovic's record. "But the more you win, there is always a chance that you lose at some point. Maybe he has the aim to go undefeated in this short season. You never know what happens."

Struff, who is one of just five players to take a set off Djokovic in 2020, made the quarter-finals in New York by ousting No.7 seed David Goffin 6-4 3-6 6-4.

Defending champion Daniil Medvedev, the No.3 seed, eased past Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-3 and will face Spanish No.8 seed Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the final four.

with AAP