Give Benjamin Becker this—he certainly made Novak Djokovic sweat in the first set of their second-round match at the U.S. Open.
Then Djokovic showed Becker why he is the No. 1 seed at this tournament, surviving two set points in the first set and blowing past Becker in the next two, winning 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-2.
Live Tennis tweeted a picture of Djokovic after he survived the first set:
A bit of relief in that countenance, wouldn't you say?
To put into perspective the contrast between the first set and the next two, the first set lasted 52 minutes, while the next two took just 59.
Djokovic used a strong service game (13 aces, 48 of his 59 first-serve points won) and a steady return game (nine return winners) to advance past Becker.
Becker had Djokovic on the ropes in the first set, serving for the set up 5-4. He had two set points, but he hit a forehand into the net on the first and double-faulted the second, while Djokovic continued his Houdini act in the deuce, knotting things up at 5-5.
From there, Djokovic forced a tiebreak—which he dominated, 7-2—before cruising to victory.
It was a first set that even Djokovic admitted in the post-match interview he should have lost. Via Evan Hilbert of CBS, Djokovic noted, "It was a touch match for me today. Becker is a quality opponent, and he should have won the first set. I was fortunate enough to come back, and after that I felt much more comfortable on the court."
The top seed is looking to continue his run of success at the Grand Slams, as he has reached the semifinals in 13 straight such tournaments, the second-longest streak in history behind only Roger Federer's 23 consecutive semifinals appearances.
He's also looking to stave off Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray and become the only player this season to win two Grand Slams (he won the Australian Open, while Nadal won the French Open and Murray took Wimbledon).
Djokovic will now face Joao Sousa in the third round.