Novak Djokovic paid tribute to opponent Jenson Brooksby after the American gave him an almighty battle at the US Open.
Brooksby, who is just 20-years-old and ranked 99 in the world, came out firing against Djokovic as they met in front of a sell-out crowd on Arthur Ashe.
It was Brooksby who won the first set, and impressively so, but he was unable to prevent Djokovic was forcing his way back into the contest.
Inevitably, the world number one wore down his opponent with a masterclass of defence and determination, and the usual quality tennis, and he came out with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win he had been made to thoroughly earn.
“[The atmosphere was] electric, awesome,” Djokovic said. “I enjoyed it. It gave both players energy and motivation to showcase.
“Brooksby has a bright future. I told him that at the net. He’s a great player
“I must say that it wasn’t a great start for me. Jenson was pumped he had a clear game plan, and was executing all the shots. I was on the back foot and he was reading the play.
“The momentum was changed midway second set. We played two long games. After that I started hitting more cleanly and through the court. I found my serves well.
“It was a physical battle with exhausting rallies. Credit to him.
“He played a perfect first set. I couldn’t do much. He disguises drop shots and slices so well. He’s talented, so crafty, a very intelligent player, no doubt about it.”
Djokovic will now face Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals – a rematch of the Wimbledon final which the Serbian won.
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