2020 in Review: Novak Djokovic downs Dzumhur to kick off title chase

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2020 in Review: Novak Djokovic downs Dzumhur to kick off title chase

The three-time US Open champion Novak Djokovic kicked off the campaign with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Damir Dzumhur in two hours, securing the 288th Major victory. It was Novak's 24th triumph from as many matches in 2020, continuing where he left at the ATP Cup, the Australian Open, Dubai and Cincinnati and standing as the top favorite.

The Serb fended off six out of seven break chances, suffered one break early in the second set and dominated the scoreboard with 31 winners and 29 unforced errors. Dzumhur's serve was always in danger, giving away over half of the initial shot points and facing no less than 18 break opportunities, getting broken six times to propel Novak into the second round and towards the Kyle Edmund clash.

Novak played against a break point already in the first game, fending it off with a smash winner at the net and sealing it with an ace. Damir got broken in the second game when his volley landed long, allowing Djokovic to bring the third game home with a hold at love and open a 3-0 advantage.

The Bosnian netted a backhand slice to suffer another break and find himself 4-0 down, squandering a break chance a few minutes later and finally adding his name to the scoreboard after a forehand winner.

Novak Djokovic defeated Damir Dzumhur for a winning start in New York.

Serving for the set, Novak delivered a perfect serve & volley combo for 6-1 in 23 minutes, looking sharp and hoping for more of the same for the rest of the encounter. The Serb broke at love in the second set's third game to move in front, delivering a careless service game right after that to keep Damir in contention at 2-2.

The sixth and seventh games offered many deuces and nine break opportunities. Djokovic fended off three of those at 2-3, creating six chances in the next one but squandering them all to keep Dzumhur in contention. The Serb held at 30 in game eight and grabbed a break at 15 following a costly double fault from Damir, opening a 5-4 gap and holding after his rival's backhand mistake in game ten that pushed him two sets to love up.

Dzumhur hit another double fault to start the third set in the worst possible way before Djokovic erased a break point in game four for a 3-1 advantage, right after the Bosnian's medical timeout. A forehand crosscourt winner earned another break for Novak in game five, serving well and moving over the top with another at 5-1 that pushed him into the second round.