Novak Djokovic looks to continue his comfortable start to the US Open on Friday when he takes on Denis Kudla for a place in the last 16. A potential rematch of the 2016 final is on the cards in the next round should Djokovic win, with Stanislas Wawrinka expected to be waiting for him.
Kudla is a solid counterpuncher but looks resigned to a career floating around the bottom half of the top 100 or just outside of it. He is in a slam third round for just the second time in his career, with two wins over Serbians this week. He would need a miracle to make it three but the four set wins over Janko Tipsarevic and Dusan Lajovic have given him a solid base to build on as he seeks to return to the top 100 by the end of the year.
It looked an easy match on paper against Juan Ignacio Londero but Djokovic didn’t have it all his own way despite advancing in straight sets 6-4 7-6 6-1 against the Argentinian. He went a double break down in the second and also struggled with a shoulder problem but it will be good for Djokovic to have been tested a little, assuming there is no lasting damage to his shoulder. “He was hitting the ball really, really nice from the forehand side, especially. He made me work. I had to run a lot to earn this victory.” he said.
“It has caused hindrance to my game for sure tonight, especially with the serve and backhand. It was not easy to play with this kind of sensation, to be honest. I did not experience that too many times in my career.” he said of his shoulder. Injury woes are likely to be the only thing that deny Djokovic a victory on this occasion but should it worsen, tougher opponents may be able to take advantage.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets