ATP US Open: Novak Djokovic battles past Juan Ignacio Londero to reach R3



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ATP US Open: Novak Djokovic battles past Juan Ignacio Londero to reach R3

World no. 1 and the defending US Open champion Novak Djokovic is through to the third round in New York for the 14th time in as many appearances, beating Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 15 minutes. It was the 40th victory of the season for the Serb and the 71st at the US Open, battling hard to break Londero's resistance in sets one and two (taking just six points more than his rival) before finding the winning formula in the third set to seal the deal and advance into the third round.

Hitting 35 winners and unforced errors, Novak toppled Juan Ignacio's 24 winners and 43 mistakes, getting broken five times and delivering eight breaks to seal the deal in straight sets, having to work hard in the first two hours to break the rival's resistance and stay on the title course.

Londero broke first in the fifth game of the match after a poor challenge from Novak who converted the sixth break chance in the next game to level the score at 3-3 thanks to a loose backhand from Juan Ignacio. Djokovic received treatment on his shoulder before the seventh game but there was nothing wrong with his tennis, delivering an incredible defense in game ten to take the opener 6-4 after 48 minutes.

They played on a higher level in set number two, hitting more winners than unforced errors and staying locked up with three breaks on each side in a rollercoaster ride. Londero grabbed 12 of the first 15 points to move 3-0 up before Novak started to climb back, pulling one break back in game four with a touchy drop shot and leveling the score at 3-3 when Juan Ignacio sprayed a backhand error.

The Serb had the momentum now, rattling off the fifth straight game to go 5-3 in front after his third consecutive break, only to lose serve at 15 in game nine while serving for the set following a powerful forehand from the Argentine who sent the set into a tie break.

There, Novak grabbed three mini-breaks to find himself 6-4, 7-6 up after an hour and 47 minutes, taking the most essential points and having the upper hand in the rallies longer than three shots. As was expected, Londero lost the ground in set number three, suffering four breaks and sending Novak through after another groundstroke mistake in game seven, disappointed he couldn't take at least a set despite a great effort.