Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Damir Dzumhur in 1st Round of 2020 U.S. Open

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2020

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, reacts after a winning a set against Damir Dzumhur, of Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the first round of the US Open tennis championships, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin/Associated Press

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic cruised past Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round of the 2020 U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

As was the case with his colleagues, Djokovic didn't have the benefit of a traditional buildup to the tournament thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But he claimed the men's singles title in the Western & Southern Open last week, defeating Milos Raonic in the final.

With Monday's victory, he's now 24-0 on the season.

Adam Zagoria @AdamZagoria

Best undefeated starts to an ATP season, since 1990 Djokovic 41-0 2011 Djokovic 24-0 2020 Djokovic 17-0 2013 Federer 17-0 2018 Sampras 17-0 1997 https://t.co/Wgj4leV6YF

The three-time champion is the runaway favorite since Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka are all absent from this year's field.

Djokovic reaffirmed his top contender status by dispatching Dzumhur, though the win didn't come without some trouble.

He easily swept Dzumhur aside in the first set before 28-year-old Bosnian proved to be more troublesome in the second.

Djokovic earned a service break to go ahead 2-1, only for Dzumhur to break right back. 

Dzumhur then had three break-point chances in the sixth game but was unable to capitalize as Djokovic tied the set at three. The two then needed 22 points to decide the seventh game, which Dzumhur took after saving five break points.

His resistance eventually fell in the ninth game as Djokovic got the pivotal break to move ahead 5-4. He held serve one game later to take the set.

US Open Tennis @usopen

Locked. In. Novak Djokovic takes the first two sets against Dzumhur. Will he close it out in straight sets? @DjokerNole l #USOpen https://t.co/8HCCkmOAxd

Having thrown his best shot at Djokovic, Dzumhur steadily lost steam in the third set. Djokovic broke serve to open the set and didn't look back. He put Dzumhur away on match point with a forehand as the underdog was rushing the net.

Djokovic wasn't at his best, committing 29 unforced errors and five double faults. He'll presumably be sharper against better opposition since he knew he didn't need his best stuff to advance to the second round.

David Law @DavidLawTennis

Djokovic used Dzumhur as the perfect sparring partner. Extended in set two to get his eye in, then accelerated away. Kyle Edmund will throw some big punches at Djokovic in round 2. Be interesting to see how often, and for how long, he can connect.

Nothing from his performance should give fans pause about potentially penciling him through to the men's final.


What's Next?

Djokovic will play Kyle Edmund. He's 5-1 against Edmund in their six head-to-head encounters, most recently prevailing in the 2019 Paris Masters.