Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates victory after his second round match against Benjamin Becker of Germany at the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, yesterday.
NEW YORK: Top seed Novak Djokovic survived a first-set wobble to reach the US Open third round yesterday but Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki once again flopped when removed from her London grasscourt comfort zone.
World number one Djokovic won 12 of the last 14 games to defeat Germany’s Benjamin Becker 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, 6-2 after saving two set points in the 10th game of the opening set.
Djokovic, the 2011 champion who is bidding to reach the New York final for a fourth successive year, sent down 13 aces as well as 40 winners with 18 of his 26 total unforced errors coming in that uncomfortable first set against the world number 87, who is part of US Open folklore.
It was the 32-year-old German who ended Andre Agassi’s career in the American’s last match in New York in 2006.
“Becker is a quality player and he should have won the first set. I was fortunate to come out of it, but after that I felt more comfortable on the court,” said Djokovic, who next plays either Jarkko Nieminen of Finland or Portugal’s Joao Sousa.
In the women’s event, Chinese fifth seed Li Na and third-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska made the last 16.
Li hit 11 aces in a 6-2, 7-5 victory against teenager Laura Robson, avenging her loss to the Briton at the same stage last year.
The 31-year-old Li, who saw her opponent hit 30 unforced errors, goes on to face either Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara or Serbian ninth seed Jelena Jankovic, the 2008 runner-up, for a quarter-final spot.
“I was really happy how I was hitting on the court,” Li said. “And I thought I served really well.”
Li’s best US Open performance was a run to the quarter-finals in 2009, one round better than Radwanska, who has stumbled at the fourth-round stage on three occasions.
The 2012 Wimbledon runner-up made the last 16 once again yesterday with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) win over Russian 32nd seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a quarter-finalist in 2011.
Pavlyuchenkova, seeded at a major for the first time, was undone by 41 unforced errors, which rendered her 32 winners irrelevant against the steady Radwanska who now faces Ekaterina Makarova.
Russian 24th seed Makarova clinched a 6-4, 7-5 win over German 16th seed Lisicki, who had wowed Wimbledon last month when she defeated Serena Williams on her way to a final loss against Marion Bartoli.
In other early men’s action Friday, 12th seeded Tommy Haas, the oldest man in the draw at 35 and a three-time quarter-finalist, defeated Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).
The 35-year-old German next plays Russian 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny, the two-time semi-finalist, who saw off Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 7-5, 6-1, 6-3. AFP