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Novak Djokovic is the defending champion and top seed at the US Open.

Djokovic Matches Sampras At US Open

Serbian moves into fifth all-time in US Open match wins

Novak Djokovic weathered a pesky shoulder injury and a double-break deficit to match his childhood hero at the US Open on Wednesday evening.

The top seed and defending champion beat Argentina's Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-1 in Arthur Ashe Stadium to improve to 14-0 in second-round matches in Flushing Meadows. Djokovic also notched his 71st victory at the season's final Grand Slam, moving into fifth place in the Open Era and tying his former idol and five-time champion Pete Sampras.

"I want to congratulate Londero for showing a great fighting spirit and playing some great tennis tonight,” Djokovic said on court after the match. “It's a straight-sets win, but it was definitely a very difficult match to play. A lot of rallies, especially in the first couple of sets.”

US Open Wins Leader (Open Era)

Position

Name

W-L

Years Played

1

Jimmy Connors

98-17

1970-89, 1991-92

2

Roger Federer

87-13

2000-15, 2017-19

3

Andre Agassi

79-19

1986-2006

4

Ivan Lendl

73-13

1979-94

5

Pete Sampras

71-9

1988-98, 2000-02

5

Novak Djokovic

71-10

2005-16, 2018-19

The Serbian is going for his fourth US Open title and third Grand Slam crown of the season in New York. He will next meet the winner between American Denis Kudla or countryman and 27th seed Dusan Lajovic, who will play on Thursday after rain postponed much of Wednesday's scheduled play.

Djokovic fell behind a break in the opener but broke right back and again in the ninth game. The Serbian was bothered by his left shoulder and received treatment during the 4-3 changeover and again after the first set, yet he put it behind him to take control of their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

"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," said Djokovic of his left shoulder. "I was also lucky to find my way back in the second set and to win in the straight sets."

Londero, however, who impressed Roger Federer during their Cincinnati tangle, showed why he's close to cracking the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings at No. 56. The 26-year-old slapped forehand after forehand and raced to a double-break 3-0 lead in the second set. But Djokovic conceded nothing, making Londero earn every point from there on out as the 16-time Grand Slam champion settled in at the baseline and controlled the tie-break.

"He brings focus and intensity on the court. He showed tonight a great spirit of someone that never stopped believing. Unfortunately for him, he was leading 3-0 and serving in the second set, and I found a way to get back in the second set," Djokovic said. "But he was playing well. 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."

In the third, it was Djokovic who gained the double-break lead when Londero double faulted to end the fifth game. But the Serbian never let go, hitting only six unforced errors in the third compared to double-digit totals in the first (15) and second (14).

"The way it has started for me, especially midway through the first set, I didn't know if I would be able to finish the match," Djokovic said. "I'm really glad I have."

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