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Novak Djokovic Advances at U.S. Open Tennis as Top Players Roll

Novak Djokovic Advances at U.S. Open Tennis
Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot against Carlos Berlocq of Argentina during the 2011 U.S. Open. Photographer: Nick Laham/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic capped a day of dominance for top players at the U.S. Open with his most lopsided three-set victory of the year.

Djokovic threatened to become the first man since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to not lose a game during a match at the tournament before easing to a 6-0, 6-0, 6-2 win over Carlos Berlocq of Argentina.

“The first two sets were ideal. I couldn’t play better,” said Djokovic, who is seeking to become the sixth man to win three Grand Slam titles in the same year. “I felt fantastic on the court. There’s not much I can say when everything seems fun. It’s enjoyable tennis.”

Djokovic’s win in the final match at Arthur Ashe Stadium last night came after Roger Federer, Serena Williams and fellow No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki spent just over three hours on the court between them in cruising to straight-set victories in the final major tennis tournament of the year.

Williams, an American and three-time U.S. Open champion, needed 49 minutes to complete a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands at the National Tennis Center in New York. Wozniacki of Denmark took little more than an hour to beat Arantxa Rus, another Dutch player, 6-2, 6-0.

Federer, a five-time men’s U.S. Open champion, won 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 against Israeli Dudi Sela in 1 hour, 17 minutes.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal of Spain is back in action today, with a second-round match against France’s Nicolas Mahut.

Sharapova Plays

Nadal, seeded second, takes the court after a third-round match between women’s No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova of Russia and No. 26 Flavia Pennetta of Italy.

Andy Roddick of the U.S. highlights the night session with a second-round meeting against 18-year-old Jack Sock, a fellow Nebraskan who won the U.S. Open boys’ title last year. While Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, has the lowest Grand Slam seeding of his career at No. 21, Sock entered the tournament ranked 555th in the world.

“He’s pretty pumped up from what I’ve seen,” Roddick said. “He has nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Fourth-seeded Andy Murray of Britain faces Robin Haase of the Netherlands, while No. 18 Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina and No. 28 John Isner of the U.S. are also in action. Fifth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain plays American James Blake.

McHale, Falconi

Unseeded Americans Christina McHale and Irina Falconi return to the court after their second-round upset wins. McHale faces No. 25 Maria Kirilenko of Russia in the first match of the night session in Ashe Stadium and Falconi meets No. 22 Sabine Lisicki of Germany.

Second-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia plays No. 30 Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain for a spot in the fourth round to start the day, No. 9 Samantha Stosur of Australia meets No. 24 Nadia Petrova of Russia and No. 13 Shuai Peng of China takes on No. 19 Julia Goerges of Germany.

One of yesterday’s few upsets came from 18-year-old American Sloane Stephens, who beat No. 23 Shahar Peer of Israel 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) to reach the third round.

Vania King of the U.S. beat No. 29 Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 6-2, 6-0 and will next face Wozniacki, who is into the third round for the 16th consecutive major.

Men’s seventh seed Gael Monfils of France lost yesterday to Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain in a five-set match that lasted 4 hours, 48 minutes, the longest on day four.

Fish, Berdych Advance

Eighth-seeded Mardy Fish of the U.S., No. 9 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and No. 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France all won yesterday, while women’s No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka next faces Williams after ending a three-match losing streak against Gisela Dulko of Argentina.

Djokovic improved his record to 59-2 this year by winning his first 14 games against Berlocq, who was appearing in the second round of a major for the third time.

Berlocq raised his arms and smiled widely as the crowd cheered in the third set when he broke the serve of Djokovic, who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles this year.

“I felt a little bit for him in a certain stage of the match in the third set,” Djokovic said at a news conference. “He was trying really hard to get back in the match and I have to give him credit for fighting.”

Djokovic won the next-to-last point of the match by hitting a shot between his legs. The Serb plays Nikolay Davydenko next.

“I’ve been playing this well for a while this year,” Djokovic said. “When you’re playing perfectly, everything seems so good and you’re so happy because that’s exactly where you want your game to be. This is a tournament where I definitely want to perform my best.”

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