It has been a long day at the Crandon Park Tennis Center with a lot of matches happening at the same time and today the third round matches of the top-half of the men's draw were played. Scheduled to play was the world number one, Novak Djokovic, who faced the portuguese, João Sousa.
Very tight first set won by Djokovic
The two players like to play on the baseline, so a lot of long rallies were expected in this match. The players didn't disappoint and offered the crowd a great show with a lot of gruelling rallies and some great points. At the beggining of the set, they were both playing an aggressive tennis and waiting for their opponent to fail until Sousa started to vary his strokes and tried some slices and drop shots. The Portuguese was serving for the lead at three games all when he was broken in a 7-minute game.
The long games were there to stay, as the Portuguese is known for his fighting instincts, and in an 11-minute game, he got the break back to stay alive in this set. The world number one was not going to be troubled by losing his lead. Djokovic broke Sousa's serve again to take the lead and serve for the set at 5-4 in a 9-minute game. The Serbian served it out and took the first set 6-4 in 51 minutes.
A one-way second set ruled by the defending champion
As Sousa was starting the second set by serving, Djokovic didn't want to waste any time and started to make some agressive returns which gave him three break points. Those breakpoints were saved by the Portuguese with some good serves and patience. Sousa was leading the second set 1-0, but it was the only game he would win in the second set.
The 11-time major champion raised his level and forced Sousa to fail. The Portugese started to feel very tired. so the world number one took advantage. With a two break lead, Djokovic broke again and won the set and the match on Sousa's serve. The match ended 6-4 6-1 in favour of Djokovic.
Djokovic aced Sousa nine times and committed four double faults, while Sousa hit one ace and double faulted three times. 73% of Djokovic's first serves were in and 87% of them were won. The second serve was a weak weapon for both. Although having a good percentage of first serve points won, Djokovic won just 21% of the points on his second serve against 35% points won in this matter by Sousa.
The victor fired 22 winners and had 18 unforced errors and the vanquished fired 10 winners against 26 unforced errors. Everytime Djokovic came to the net, he won the point. Djokovic had 11 breakpoints and was able to convert just five of them. Sousa had four break points and just converted one. Both players ran a similar distance on the court, 1377m covered by Novak and 1332m covered by Sousa.
Novak Djokovic will now face Dominic Thiem who is 22-5 and ranked 4th on ATP Race this year for a place in the quarterfinals.
João Sousa is heading to Marrakech to play an ATP 250 tournament.