Djokovic vs Struff US Open tennis live streaming, preview and predictions

Novak Djokovic crushed Jan-Lennard Struff in ‘Cincinnati’ last week – can the German make it more challenging for the top seed at the US Open?

Djokovic vs Struff is live from New York on Friday 4 September, time TBC

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic dropped his first set of the US Open against Kyle Edmund on Wednesday, but finished the match strongly and the way he rose above that challenge will only underline his status as overwhelming favourite to win this major.

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Big-serving Jan-Lennard Struff has been playing some of the best tennis of his career over the past 18 months and took a set from Djokovic at the Australian Open in January, but is 0-4 overall against the Serb.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Djokovic vs Struff: Head-to-head

Djokovic is 4-0 against Struff, and 11-10 in sets. Struff won the third set when the two faced off in the first round of the Australian Open in January, but otherwise his matches against Djokovic have been one-sided.

Djokovic beat Struff 6-3, 6-1 when they met at the ‘Cincinnati’-New York Masters just over a week ago.

Djokovic vs Struff: Preview

Novak Djokovic may have dropped a set against Kyle Edmund in his second-round clash at the US Open, but don’t let that deceive you into thinking he’s any less the favourite for the title; the last five Grand Slams Djokovic has won have seen him drop a set at some point during the first three rounds.

It was Edmund who took that set at Wimbledon two years ago, and their clash on Wednesday followed much the same pattern: The British player played an excellent first set, getting every ounce possible out of his big serve and heavy forehand, but was unable to maintain that kind of accuracy and intensity for more than a set and Djokovic smoothly took control from early in the second set onwards. Each set became less competitive until Djokovic wrapped things up after three hours and 17 minutes, having struck 16 aces for three double faults, hit 52 winners for 34 unforced errors and won 75% of his service points overall during the 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

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All in all Djokovic has to be feeling pretty good about how his US Open campaign is professing. The neck pain and stomach issues which affected him at the ‘Cincinnati’-New York Masters – but did not stop him from winning it – seem to be in the past, and the adjustment back to best-of-five sets tennis so shortly after ending a six-month spell off the court looks to be progressing about as smoothly as could possibly have been expected.

Jan-Lennard Struff (PA Images)

If there is to be a bump in the road, I’m not sure it’s going to be Jan-Lennard Struff in the third round. Struff is at a career-high ranking of world no. 29 right now, reflecting the career-best tennis he’s played over the past 18 months, capped by reaching the quarterfinals in ‘Cincinnati’ last week courtesy of wins over Alex de Minaur, Denis Shapovalov and David Goffin. The big-serving German has won six of the 14 matches he’s played against top-10 players in the past 18 months, but he hasn’t come close to beating Djokovic in any of their four previous meetings. A player with a big serve which Djokovic nevertheless has no particular trouble neutralising, being the exceptional returner that he is, and who isn’t built for long rallies is not going to beat Djokovic. Over the course of three sets, you would expect Struff to get more than three games in a set, which he didn’t manage last week; but the outcome certainly looks like a straightforward victory for Djokovic.

Djokovic vs Struff: Prediction

Novak Djokovic aims to improve to 21-0 in 2020 as he takes on big-serving Jan-Lennard Struff for a place in the semifinals in ‘Cincinnati’.

Djokovic vs Struff is live from New York on Wednesday 26 August at 3pm local/8pm BST

After a slightly shaky performance against Ricardas Berankis in the second round, as Djokovic played his first match for six months, the world no. 1 delivered a vastly improved showing to beat Tennys Sandgren and book his place in the quarterfinals.

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Djokovic will be aiming to maintain that high level as he takes on Struff, who knocked out 2019 runner-up David Goffin in the previous round and took a set from Djokovic at the Australian Open in January.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Djokovic vs Struff live

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Djokovic vs Struff: Head-to-head

Djokovic has a 3-0 record vs Struff, winning their first two matches in straight sets. When they played at the Australian Open in January, Struff pushed Djokovic to a tie-break in the first set and took the third set as Djokovic won 7-6(5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.

Jan-Lennard Struff is 6-7 vs top-10 players in 2019-20 (PA Images)

Djokovic vs Struff: Preview

Signs of rust both mental and physical were to be expected in Djokovic’s first match in six months and indeed were apparent as he edged past Ricardas Berankis 7-6(2), 6-4. But if the way he played against Tennys Sandgren in his next match were any indication, Djokovic is shaking off that rust faster than anyone not acquainted with his habitual excellence would believe.

Djokovic pulled out of the doubles, which he was planning to play with Filip Krajinovic, due to neck pain, for which he needed treatment during the Berankis match, but he said after beating Sandgren that the pain was almost completely gone – and it looked like it. The world no. 1 broke Sandgren twice to take a one-sided first set, saving the only break point he faced as he closed out the first set 6-2 on his third opportunity; in the second set, he again broke Sandgren immediately, then held from 0-40 at 4-3, saving one break point in particularly spectacular style with a pair of exceptional volleys which would have had the crowd on their feet, had their been one. Djokovic was unable to any of the five match points he had on Sandgren’s serve at 3-5, but served the match out to love to seal the 99-minute victory and improve to 20-20 in 2020.

Of those 20 victories this season, 15 have come in straight sets: Only Denis Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Djokovic’s opponent on Wednesday, Struff, have taken sets from him. It’s exalted company for the baby-faced, big-serving German, who has been playing some of the best tennis of his career over the past 18 months.

Struff reached a career-high ranking of world no. 33 in 2019 last July and has won six of the 13 matches against top-10 players he has played in 2019-20, scoring wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Marin Cilic, Alexander Zverev, Karen Khachanov and most recently against David Goffin, runner-up at the Western & Southern Open 12 months ago. Struff is now on a five-match winning streak, having won Davis Cup rubbers before the shutdown and returned from his five-month absence to beat Alex de Minaur, Shapovalov and Goffin in ‘Cincinnati’.

All of this bodes well for Struff being able to make it an interesting match against Djokovic – but one that he can win? The German’s big weapon is his serve, and Djokovic is one of the best returners the game has ever seen, perhaps the best; in three previous meetings, Struff has managed a single set, and that was when he played one of the finest matches he has ever produced against Djokovic in the first round of the Australian Open. I don’t believe there’s a scenario in which Struff wins this match, but I think he can keep it close.

Djokovic vs Struff: Prediction