September 2, 2013
No mess. No fuss. Calm, clinical, physically undemanding.
When you look at Novak’s projected path to glory in New York, it was just what he needed.
Djokovic sailed through his 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 dismissal of Joao Sousa in just one hour and forty minutes.
Novak looks like a man on a mission, flying in under the radar. And his smooth progress past the Portuguese could be ominous for his opponents.
We’ve talked about how good Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray are looking. Murray put on another great exhibition in the muggy afternoon heat to stay on course for a semi-final showdown with Novak.
Meanwhile Nadal has been loving every moment of his return to the top of tennis, and he’s playing so well that you’d be surprised if anyone stops him from reaching the final.
So is Djokovic looking good enough to down Murray and join the Spaniard in a repeat of the Roland Garros final? I think so. There’s so little to choose between the Scot and the Serb, so the way they
conserve their energy in the early rounds could be important.
Djokovic emerged from that Sousa stroll as though he had barely been in a match at all. Murray had suffered from breathlesness earlier, in a tough first set.
Then consider Novak’s state of mind. He played bridesmaid to Nadal at the French and to Murray at Wimbledon. Sooner or later he is going to hit back with a vengeance.
The world number one isn’t going to want to lose three Slams in a row. That would be unthinkable for the best tennis player on the planet.
But it is going to take huge reserves of energy for Djokovic to beat Murray and then triumph against Nadal. That’s why the easier Novak’s matches are for now, the better. Poor Sousa could hardly have been more helpful.