Djokovic reveals ‘secret’ to staging incredible comeback in US Open 3rd round | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
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Novak Djokovic sensationally reveals 'secret' to staging incredible comeback from two-sets down in US Open 3rd round

Sep 02, 2023 02:09 PM IST

US Open 2023: Novak Djokovic sealed a sensational comeback in his five-setter third round match against fellow countryman Laslo Djere.

Novak Djokovic had to rely on his immense experience to defeat countryman Laslo Djere in the third round of the ongoing US Open 2023, at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on Saturday. The world no. 2 came from two sets down and then won the next three to clinch a 4-6 4-6 6-1 6-1 6-3 victory. Djokovic showed a lot of grit, avoiding what would have been his earliest exit at the US Open since 2006.

Novak Djokovic reacts during his US Open 2023 match against Laslo Djere.(AP)
Novak Djokovic reacts during his US Open 2023 match against Laslo Djere.(AP)

The result also marked Djokovic's eighth career win after dropping the opening two sets of a match. He also improved to 38-11 in five-setters. Speaking after the match, Djokovic hailed his opponent and said, "Trust me. It was nerve-racking all the way until the last shot."

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This could have been Djere's, who is 28-years-old and was seeded 32nd, biggest career victory. He has never reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament. Djokovic revealed that after he was two sets down, he headed to the locker room to motivate himself. "I did a little pep talk in the mirror. I kind of laughed at myself, because I was so ... agitated. I forced myself to ... lift the spirits," he said.

Once Djokovic cemented control in the match, he didn't let Djere gain any foothold. In the fifth set, Djokovic collected 12 of the initial 14 points, which more or less predicted the outcome of the game. The Serbian ace won three of his men's record 23 Grand Slams at the Flushing Meadows and has been the runners-up a half-dozen times, including 2021. He did not compete last year, as he couldn't travel to the USA as a foreigner who is not vaccinated against Covid-19 can't enter the country. The rule was lifted in May this year.

Djokovic will face Borna Gojo in the next round and had a message for his opponent. "The message is sent to the rest of the field, obviously, that I’m still able to play five sets, deep (into the) night. Coming from two sets down always sends a strong message to future opponents," he said.

"But I’m not really wanting to be in this position, to be honest. I prefer a straight-set win. So hopefully I can get back on that track in the next match," he further added.

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