Novak Djokovic got defaulted for the first time in a career against Pablo Carreno Busta in the fourth round of the US Open! The three-time champion and world no. 1 had the opening set in his hands, serving well and creating four break chances in games eight and ten.
Pablo fended off three set points at 4-5, gathering momentum and stealing Novak's serve in game 11 to move 6-5 in front. Angry at himself, Novak accidentally slammed the ball into the lines judge, knocking her on the floor and having to leave the tournament.
Novak had won all previous 26 matches in 2020, seeking the 18th Major title in New York but having to wait until Roland Garros for that. Two days ago, Djokovic took down Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and 43 minutes to advance into the fourth round, hitting 34 winners and 23 unforced errors.
He broke the German five times from 11 chances to seal the deal and remain on the title course. Novak had 11 winners and nine unforced errors in the opener, saving an early break point and stealing the rival's serve once for a 6-3.
The Serb survived the opening game with a nice challenge, fending off a break point with a service winner and holding after two deuces with a powerful serve. They barely lost a point in the next four service games, with the German repelling the first break opportunity for Novak with a service winner in game six, leveling the score at 3-3 to stay on the positive side.
Djokovic held after deuce in game seven with a service winner, sending the pressure to the other side of the court and securing a break a few minutes later when Jan-Lennard sent a forehand wide. Serving for the set, the three-time champion blasted a service winner for a 6-3 in 38 minutes, hoping for more of the same in the upcoming sets.
Serving at 91%, Novak lost five points behind the initial shot in set number two, mounting the pressure on the other side of the net with 11 winners and seven unforced errors.
Novak Djokovic got defaulted to send Pablo Carreno Busta into the quarters.
Struff couldn't match those numbers, getting broken twice to send Novak further in front.
Djokovic converted the fourth break opportunity in the opening game with a forehand crosscourt winner, holding at 15 with an unreturned serve to open a 2-0 gap. The German claimed the third game with an ace, reducing the deficit and staying in touch until game nine when he served to stay in the set.
Novak grabbed the second break of the set when his rival netted a backhand, taking it 6-3 and moving closer to the top after only 72 minutes. Maintaining a high level, the Serb had 12 winners and seven unforced errors in set number three, fending off three break chances in games one and seven and moving over the top with a double break.
The top seed survived two break points in the opening game, securing a break at love in game four to forge a 3-1 advantage. Novak extended the gap with a hold at 15 in game five, clinching another return game to open a 5-1 lead and repelling a break chance in game seven to move over the top and advance into the last 16 for the 13th time.