Photo: Eisele/Giubilo/ZimmerNovak Djokovic (SRB)
LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN: World No. 2 Novak Djokovic was in sizzling form as he defeated Andy Roddick 62 61 in the second round of the Olympic Tennis Event.
While Roddick played below his best on his favourite surface, Djokovic was simply untouchable, breaking the American twice in each set and hitting 14 aces, four of which came in the last game. “I delivered my best game I think so far this year on grass courts,” said Djokovic afterwards.
Their head-to-head coming into the match suggested it would be a much tighter affair between the 2010 Wimbledon champion and the three-time Wimbledon runner-up. Roddick led the series 5-3, and today was their first meeting on grass, the American’s favourite surface.
But it turned into Djokovic’s easiest victory yet over Roddick, and suggests he has his eyes fixed firmly on the prize at London 2012.
The Serbian, who carried his country’s flag in the Opening Ceremony, broke twice in the opening set, converting each of his two break points. More of the same followed in the second set, as Djokovic used both his break points to shut Roddick out of all but one game.
The American was unable to get any opportunities on Djokovic’s serve as he played near-faultless tennis, hitting 34 winners. Highlights included a backhand lob that sailed high over Roddick’s head before landing inside the line to hand the Serbian a 2-0 lead, and two fizzing Djokovic returns as he broke to lead 5-1.
Roddick took Djokovic to 0-30 in the final game, but Djokovic recovered with two aces, and moved to match point with a stunning cross court volley. His opponent saved the first one, but Djokovic struck back and ended a commanding performance with two more aces.
“It was a perfect match in every sense. I served many aces, got a lot of free points on the first serve, and I returned a lot of balls back in the court and made him play,” said Djokovic, whose next opponent will either be Marin Cilic or Lleyton Hewitt.
Roddick, a popular loser on Centre Court, said, “He was just in the zone. The conditions were perfect. He was hitting it well.”
It's tough. If he's hitting the ball like that, my chance is to serve really well. I didn't serve great today. I hit the ball fine. He was just too good from the baseline. He was seeing it like a basketball today.”
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