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U.S. Open: Novak Djokovic dances way into fourth round

September 3, 2011 |  8:45 pm

There were service games that lasted 10 minutes, and the baseline power of 30-year-old veteran Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and 24-year-old Novak Djokovic of Serbia at Arthur Ashe Stadium made it sound as if two men were pounding drums.

A year ago, a sixth-seeded Davydenko was upset in the second round of the U.S. Open by Richard Gasquet. This year, he's ranked No. 39 in the world. So it was no upset when he lost to the top-seeded and top-ranked Djokovic, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, in 2 hours 7 minutes Saturday night in a third-round match.

The win was Djokovic's 60th of the season. He has only two losses, one to Roger Federer in the semifinals of the French Open and one to Andy Murray, when he retired in the second set of a major hard-court tournament in Cincinnati this summer. Djokovic's injury then was a sore shoulder, but nothing seems to be hurting him so far. Going into Saturday's match, Djokovic had lost only three games.

His victory over Davydenko wasn't quite that overwhelming, but since Djokovic was 72-1 after winning the first two sets at majors, there wasn't much sense that Davydenko could make a comeback.

Next up for Djokovic is 22-year-old and 22nd-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.

"I think I played well in the important moments," Djokovic said. "I managed to make the crucial breaks in all three sets."

Then Djokovic congratulated a fan who had danced in the stands during changeovers. Tennis Channel analyst Justin Gimelstob, who did the post-match interview, asked Djokovic to dance. And he did.


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-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Novak Djokovic returns a shot during his third-round victory over Nikolay Davydenko at the U.S. Open on Saturday. Credit: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images