Novak Djokovic turned back a surprising challenge from American wild card Jenson Brooksby on Monday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the US Open, where he will face Italy’s Matteo Berrettini on Wednesday.
Brooksby stunned Djokovic by easily winning the first set of their match, but the Serbian superstar came back to advance past his fourth-round opponent.
Djokovic: I take legs, not souls
Djokovic ultimately won 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to keep his hopes of a calendar-year Grand Slam alive and well. “Was a good finish. Wasn’t a good start,” Djokovic said afterward. “I wanted to wear him down, and it worked.”
Former American tennis pro Andy Roddick described the experience of playing Novak Djokovic in even starker terms on Twitter during the match.
First he takes your legs ……. Then he takes your soul
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) September 7, 2021
“First he takes your legs,” Roddick wrote. “Then he takes your soul.”
When ESPN alerted Djokovic to the tweet after the match, he said that he agreed with only part of Roddick’s assessment.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 7, 2021
“Only the first part,” Djokovic said. “The second part, I don’t take anybody’s soul. Everyone has their soul, we’re beautiful souls, so I appreciate everyone … but I’ll take your legs out, that’s for sure.”
Injury dooms Otte upset bid
Meanwhile, No. 6 seed Matteo Berrettini forged his own path to the quarterfinals by beating German qualifier Oscar Otte 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. The match remained competitive early into the fourth set, but at 1-1 in the fourth, Otte fell after a smash and injured his wrist. While the German held serve in his next opportunity, he couldn’t effectively hit his forehand and never won another game.
“It was an intriguing match, as I expected,” Berrettini said afterward. “He was playing well and also the right way to not let me play my best tennis. Oscar had a great run and I told him that he didn’t deserve [to go out with an injury], but that’s tennis.”
|US Open Odds – Wednesday Matches (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Emma Raducanu: +138||No. 11 Belinda Bencic: -166|
|No. 4 Alexander Zverev: -690||Lloyd Harris: +480|
|No. 4 Karolina Pliskova: -137||Maria Sakkari: +110|
|No. 1 Novak Djokovic: -950||No. 6 Matteo Berrettini: +610|
Djokovic and Berrettini will now headline the Wednesday slate at Arthur Ashe Stadium. FanDuel Sportsbook lists Djokovic as a strong -950 favorite over Berrettini (+610). The two men have faced off three times in their careers, with Djokovic winning all three matches. That includes a quarterfinal battle at the French Open, and a finals clash at Wimbledon, both of which came this year and ended in four sets.
Wednesday’s other men’s quarterfinal at the US Open will see No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev take on South Africa’s Lloyd Harris. Zverev comes in as a -690 favorite over Harris (+480), who has never before advanced past the third round of a Grand Slam event.
In women’s quarterfinals action on Wednesday, No. 4 Karolina Pliskova (-137) will take on Maria Sakkari (+110), while No. 11 Belinda Bencic (-166) takes on qualifier Emma Raducanu (+138).