Novak Djokovic storms into US Open third round
Novak Djokovic dropped only two games in thrashing hapless Argentinian Carlos Berlocq 6-0 6-0 6-2 in the second round of the US Open tonight.
After the world number one's cruise against Conor Niland in round one, when he had won all but one game before the Irishman retired with food poisoning in the second set, it took Djokovic's tally to 29 games won and only three lost.
At least Niland had a valid excuse, for poor Berlocq there was nowhere to hide under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
To the 28-year-old's credit he entered into the spirit of the occasion and, despite being one of the more one-sided matches in grand slam history, the crowd were certainly not short-changed in entertainment.
Berlocq, who favours clay, persisted in playing about three metres behind the baseline, allowing his opponent to dictate play on almost every rally as the underdog scampered from side to side, usually in vain.
Djokovic dropped only eight points in the first set and 12 in the second, and for a long time it looked like Berlocq would be the victim of the rare 'triple bagel'.
The Argentinian has form where bagels are concerned, having the dubious distinction of securing his first win in an ATP World Tour match 6-0 6-0 against Donald Young in Miami in 2006 and then losing his second match by the same scoreline to James Blake.
Berlocq turned to Djokovic in exasperation after losing an exchange that gave the Serb his 14th game in a row, but he received the loudest cheer of the night in the next game as he finally got on the board with a thumping backhand winner.
He broke the top seed's serve again but it was merely a matter of pride for the 28-year-old as Djokovic, who set up match point with a hotdog shot through his legs, booked a meeting with Nikolay Davydenko in round three.
Berlocq may have been a long way away from winning the match but he certainly gained a few fans and he left the court to a standing ovation.
The result capped a day of thrashings on Arthur Ashe, with the five losers managing only 14 games between them, half of those coming from Dudi Sela during his defeat by Roger Federer.
Djokovic has now won 59 matches out of 61 this season, and he said: "The first two sets were ideal. I could not play better. I was getting a lot of balls back, I was ending the points when I needed to. I was making a lot of winners. My serve was okay, and my return was great.
"I felt fantastic on the court. And there is not much I can say when everything seems fun and seems enjoyable when you're playing such good tennis."
The Serb admitted to some feelings of sympathy for his opponent and even he enjoyed the match more when it became at least a bit of a contest in the third set.
He said: "The crowd got involved in the third set. It was great. We needed that in the match. He started playing better. He started making some winners.
"We are professionals on the court. We need to do our job, obviously to win, regardless of who is across the net. I know Carlos off the court. He is a nice guy. Today on the court I had an answer for every shot. I played great.
"I felt a little bit for him in a certain stage of the match in the third set where he was trying really hard to get back into the match. I have to give him credit for fighting."
The night sessions at Flushing Meadows can go on until the early hours of the morning but today play was over before 10.30pm, with fellow world number one Caroline Wozniacki also winning easily.
Djokovic added: "A guy actually on the way out, he said, 'Hey, listen, I paid 100 bucks. You're staying an hour and a half on the court. That's a lot to pay for a ticket. Give me something so I get back home with a happy face. Give me a racquet or something."'
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