For 1 1/2 sets, including one particularly compelling and competitive 24-point game, Novak Djokovic’s fourth-round opponent at the US Open — Jenson Brooksby, the last American left in singles — gave him fits amid a raucous atmosphere at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
File Photo : World number one Novak Djokovic celebrates after entering the quarter-finals of the US
That let Djokovic, above all, and everyone else, know that Brooksby — a 20-year-old wild-card entry from California who is ranked 99th and never before had been on this sort of stage — belonged.
And then, not surprisingly, Djokovic showed why he is who he is and how he’s managed to move within three victories of the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s tennis in 52 years.
Settling in and sending messages, to the fans with roars and to Brooksby with some staredowns, the No. 1-ranked Djokovic improved to 25-0 in majors this year by winning 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 on Monday night.
He extended his pursuit of a true Grand Slam and a record-breaking 21st major championship, while also making this the first time in the history of the US Open, an event that dates to the 1880s, with zero men or women from the host country in the quarterfinals.
He next meets No. 6 Matteo Berrettini of Italy in a rematch of the final at Wimbledon.