US Open: 'I'll take your legs out, that's for sure!' – Djokovic after brutal Brooksby battle

By Sports Desk September 07, 2021

Novak Djokovic said "I'll take your legs out, that's for sure" after digging deep to outlast American qualifier Jenson Brooksby in a physically demanding encounter at the US Open.

Djokovic – bidding to become only the third man to claim a calendar Grand Slam and first since Rod Laver in 1969 – rallied from a set down to prevail 1-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 en route to the quarter-finals in New York on Monday.

It was a brutal clash on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 20-time major champion and top seed Djokovic needed almost three hours to see off world number 99 Brooksby, who was making his debut at the iconic venue.

After being blitzed in a 29-minute opening set, Djokovic and Brooksby contested a gruelling 20-minute fifth game in the second set – the latter converting a sixth break-point chance.

Djokovic's physical superiority, however, was on display as the Serb star eventually powered past the spirited 20-year-old at Flushing Meadows.

During the last-16 matchup, former world number one Andy Roddick tweeted, in reference to Djokovic, "first he takes your legs… then he takes your soul".

Djokovic – who will face sixth seed Matteo Berrettini in a repeat of the Wimbledon final – said on court: "Thanks Andy, I take that as a compliment – only the first part.

"The second part, I don't take anybody's soul. Everyone has their soul, we're all beautiful souls so I appreciate everyone. But I'll take your legs out, that's for sure."

Djokovic hit 44 winners in the four-set triumph, to go with 41 unforced errors in a tricky clash under the Arthur Ashe lights.

With his hard-fought victory, Djokovic improved to 11-0 against Americans at the US Open. He is 29-3 at major events and 70-10 in ATP Tour-level matches.

The 34-year-old is on a 21-match winning streak against players from the United States since Sam Querrey snapped his 30-match slam streak at Wimbledon in 2016.

"Great quality match," Djokovic, who can break the record for most men's slam titles – currently level with injured pair Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, told reporters. "He started off better. I've never played him. I didn't see him play too many times. Maybe few matches in the last few months. Haven't followed his career prior to that, so I didn't know much about him. Had to do some homework and some analysis.

"It's different stepping out on the court first time against someone that really has nothing to lose. He's a young, talented player that is very crafty. He's got the really all-around game. He was pumped. He had the crowd behind him, of course. He played a perfect first set. Everything he intended to do he executed it perfectly.

"On my end, I was just trying to find a rhythm, trying to read his game, trying to understand where I can find holes in his game and start to attack and shift the momentum to my side.

"That happened already at the beginning of the second set. I broke him early. He broke back. But I re-broke his serve right away. We had some very, very long rallies, long games. It took a toll physically I think on both of us at that point. But I managed to find the right serves. I served efficiently when I needed to, opening up the court.

"The third and fourth set were really, really good from my side. I felt I was more dominant. I decreased the unforced errors that were really high in the first part of the match. I just was kind of swinging through the ball better. Was a good finish. It wasn't a good start. But all in all, expected the battle, and I got that one. I'm pleased to overcome it."

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Kyrgios into first major semi-final after racing to Garin win Wimbledon: Kyrgios into first major semi-final after racing to Garin win

    Nick Kyrgios wasted little time in booking a first career grand slam as he outclassed Cristian Garin in straight sets to reach the last four of Wimbledon.

    The Australian, a beaten quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2015's Australian Open, dominated en route to a 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) win in the tournament's first quarter-final between two unseeded players since 2008 (Arnaud Clement v Rainer Schuttler).

    Kyrgios has courted controversy on multiple occasions over the last fortnight, spitting in the direction of a fan in the opening round before winning a bad-tempered clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas in round three, but he put the theatrics to one side in clinching a last-four spot on No. 1 Court.

    Garin started strongly as he broke to love in the contest's opening game, but Kyrgios, energised after producing one of the shots of the tournament when stooping for a scarcely believable forehand winner, broke back shortly after.

    After overcoming a back-and-forth ninth game to record another break, Kyrgios served the opener out to love before moving through the gears in the second, which he wrapped up in 38 minutes to extend his lead.

    Kyrgios's fine serving allowed him to take control of the contest, with his 17 aces in the match moving him clear of John Isner (114) as the player with the most aces at Wimbledon this year (120).

    The Australian lost his way for much of the third set, producing a series of unforced errors to give Garin hope, but the Chilean's failure to convert any of his last eight break points saw Kyrgios force a tie-break.

    Kyrgios rediscovered his form in the breaker to see out the win, setting up a last-four meeting with either Taylor Fritz or Rafael Nadal.

    Data Slam: Kyrgios flying the flag after making quick work of Garin

    Kyrgios' win ensured he became the first male Australian player to reach Wimbledon's semi-finals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

    Having being taken to five sets on two occasions in West London this year (by Paul Jubb and Brandon Nakashima), the 27-year-old enjoyed a more comfortable outing on Wednesday when extending the best major run of his career.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Garin 30/23
    Kyrgios 35/29

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Garin 2/5
    Kyrgios 17/4

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Garin 1/9
    Kyrgios 3/6

  • England start another new era as Buttler bids to end India misery England start another new era as Buttler bids to end India misery

    Jos Buttler's Twenty20 International squad may not share any players with Ben Stokes' Test side, but he will hope England can echo their early red-ball success in another new era.

    No sooner had Stokes succeeded Joe Root as Test skipper than Eoin Morgan was also out as England's great limited-overs leader, retiring from international cricket altogether.

    New man Buttler does not find a team in need of an overhaul, as Stokes did in the longest format, but he will similarly be keen to make a fast start.

    And India – fresh from being thrashed by Stokes' outfit – are fearsome first opponents.

    England have not won any of their four prior T20I series against India, losing the past three in a row. In fact, India have lost only one in 14 against all opponents.

    And as Morgan's final 20-over series saw a 3-2 defeat to West Indies, England under Buttler will be aiming to avoid back-to-back such losses for the first time since February 2017.

    Buttler may well have his work cut out, too, with England resting their Test stars following a busy stretch while India will welcome their main men back for the second of three matches.

    Rohit Sharma has tested negative for coronavirus and been cleared to lead the team from the outset, with Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant among those set to join him later on.

    England's depth put to the test

    Buttler has confirmed his desire for Stokes to be involved with the T20I team, but the Test captain has plenty on his plate right now and – just as Buttler ruled himself out of red-ball action for the foreseeable future – is missing for this series.

    He is one of a number of notable absentees against an India side who could be at full strength by the second match and ramping up preparations for the T20 World Cup – a daunting prospect.

    But this also provides an opportunity for Buttler to see what talent lies beneath those big names; Richard Gleeson is in for a debut, while Reece Topley impressed on his return to the set-up in the Caribbean.

    Topley's bowling economy rate of 4.4 during the powerplay in that series represents the second-best of any player from a Test-playing country since the start of 2020 (Ajaz Patel – 3.1 for New Zealand).

    Another entertaining encounter?

    With Matthew Mott leading England's white-ball teams, there will be no 'Bazball' in this series, but Morgan's side were always similarly entertaining.

    In fact, England (146.3) and India (145.9) have the best batting strike rates of all Test-playing countries in T20Is since the beginning of 2020.

    The likes of Buttler and Pant – identified by Stokes as "someone who would fit very well in our team at the moment" – should ensure there are plenty of big scores even without Jonny Bairstow.

  • Wimbledon: Halep back to her best three years on from title win Wimbledon: Halep back to her best three years on from title win

    Simona Halep believes she is playing her best tennis since winning Wimbledon in 2019 after returning to the All England Club semi-finals.

    The former world number one is enjoying her first SW19 campaign since that triumph three years ago, with the coronavirus pandemic and a calf injury delaying her return.

    The final in 2019 was Halep's fifth at a major, but she has not been back to that stage since.

    Now, having swatted aside Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-4 in the last eight for a 12th consecutive victory at Wimbledon – the longest sequence since 20 straight Serena Williams successes between 2015 and 2018 – she is just one win away.

    Halep explained after the Anisimova match that confidence was key, having proven her game was back at a high level in reaching six semi-finals in 2022 – second only to Iga Swiatek (eight) on the WTA Tour.

    Three of those last-four appearances have now been on grass, with Johanna Konta in 2017 the last player to achieve that feat in a calendar year.

    "Definitely I've played the best tennis [since 2019]," Halep said in her on-court interview. "I struggled a lot last year; now, I'm just trying to build my confidence back.

    "The tennis is here, so I just have to believe. I've started to do that, and it feels good."

    Asked how high her confidence was now, she replied with a smile: "It's good."

    Halep has reached the last four without dropping a set, although that spotless record was briefly threatened by Anisimova, who was a double break down in the second set before breaking back and then leading 40-0 on the Romanian's serve.

    Yet Halep dug in to serve out the match and avoid a decider against an opponent with a Tour-leading 12 three-set wins this season.

    "I'm very emotional right now, because it means a lot to be back in the semis," Halep said.

    "I played a tough opponent today; she could crash the ball in the end, and I didn't know actually what to do.

    "But I just believed in myself and said that I had to stay there, strong on my legs – they helped me today – and I believed until the end that I could win."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.