The first round of the U.S. Open was unsurprisingly smooth sailing for Novak Djokovic, as he breezed past Ricardas Berankis, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
Djokovic, who won in Flushing Meadows in 2011 and has made it to at least the semifinals six straight years, showed great focus despite being a gargantuan favorite against the 23-year-old Lithuanian.
Fueled by three aces, 10 winners and just two unforced errors, the World No. 1 set the tone early, strolling to a first-set win in just 23 minutes.
Berankis showed nice promise, working some long rallies and hitting a few circus-shot winners, but he couldn't capitalize, missing on all three break points.
The second set was more of the same. Although Berankis was able to hold his serve twice, Djoker faced zero break points, as he hit three more aces and won 85 percent of his first serve points.
That set lasted just 25 minutes.
Give Berankis credit. He continued to fight in the third set, hitting four winners and forcing four more break points. Once again, however, Djokovic was simply too good, holding his serve and strolling to a win in one hour and 22 minutes.
This was cut-and-dry stuff, as Djokovic took care of business in clinical fashion.
Still, while it's hard to read into this match too much, Berankis, a former junior No. 1, hit some challenging shots that gave us a glimpse of Djoker's form after a disappointing loss to John Isner in Cincinnati.
Djoker played outstanding in response.
Whether he was sliding around on the hard court like it was Roland Garros to make some unbelievable shots or whether he was approaching the net where he won 15 of 23 points, Djokovic showed some versatility and focus that suggest he means business in New York.
He heads to the second round where he'll take on Benjamin Becker, who defeated Lukas Rosol in four sets.
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