Still unbeaten in 2020, Novak Djokovic opens his quest for a fourth US Open title against Damir Dzumhur on Monday….
Still unbeaten in 2020, Novak Djokovic opens his quest for a fourth US Open title against Damir Dzumhur on Monday.
Novak Djokovic vs Damir Dzumhur | US Open R1 | 1/9/2020 12am BST-23.5 games 21/20 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Djokovic vs Dzumhur is live from New York on Monday 31 August, 7pm local/12am BST
The honour of the first night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium goes to top seed Novak Djokovic, but it with stands empty of fans as the US Open is played behind closed doors for the first time, it won’t be a night session as we know it.
Djokovic, however, has already proved his resilience to these changed conditions with his title run at the Masters 1000 Series tournament usually held in Cincinnati, triumphing on the Louis Armstrong Court over Milos Raonic in Saturday’s final. Now 23-0 this year, Djokovic should have little trouble against Damir Dzumhur.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Djokovic vs Dzumhur: Head-to-head
This will be the third match between Djokovic and Dzumhur. Dzumhur retired trailing Djokovic 1-6, 1-2 at the Paris Masters in the autumn of 2018, and they met again in Doha the following January when Djokovic won 6-1, 6-2.
Djokovic vs Dzumhur: Preview
It’s been quite the week for Djokovic. Not only did he capture his 35th Masters 1000 Series title under the most unusual of conditions, coming back from a set down twice and having to deal with physical issues to do so, but he’s at the forefront of what might be the biggest political upheaval tennis has seen in decades: The formation of the men-only Professional Tennis Players’ Association, which has hardly been welcomed by open arms by authorities.
Djokovic, who resigned his player’s council position as a result of his role in forming the PTPA, is understood to have been aggrieved by the ATP’s failure to consult any of the players about the decision to ‘pause’ the tournament for 24 hours in response to Naomi Osaka’s stand on racist police violence. The postponement of the semifinals from Thursday to Friday certainly shrunk the time for Djokovic to recover between the ‘Cincinnati’ final and his first round at the US Open, and it won’t have helped that the semifinal match against Roberto Bautista Agut turned out to be enormously taxing: A three-hour slugfest during which Djokovic appeared to having both stomach problems and neck pain, and in which he eventually prevailed with a flawless third-set tie-break.
The world no. 1 was advised by the medical staff not to speak to the media after that match, but he bounced back strongly on Saturday to beat Milos Raonic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and enters the US Open with a 23-0 record in 2020 and as the overwhelming favourite.
Three-time champion Djokovic suffered his earliest exit for 11 years at last year’s US Open when he retired against Stan Wawrinka in the round of 16, but he is 14-0 in first-round matches at the US Open and that streak appears at small risk of ending. Djokovic hasn’t lost in the first round of any major since 2006, and he probably won’t start against Damir Dzumhur.
Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Dzumhur was a top-25 player in 2018 when he captured three ATP Tour titles – Moscow, St Petersburg and Antalya – within a 12-month span, and he made the third round of the US Open in 2017 before losing to Andrey Rublev, a result he’s matched at the Australian and French Opens twice. Dzumhur comes into this year’s US Open ranked world no. 107 and with an 8-8 record in 2020, although none of those wins were at main-draw ATP Tour level; he lost in the first round of qualifying for the Western & Southern Open to Dennis Novak last week.
None of this bodes terribly well for his first-round clash with Djokovic. Dzumhur has beaten top-10 players before, although he has lost his last ten clashes at that level; he took a set from Roger Federer in the second round of last year’s US Open. But Djokovic is not a good match-up for him (is he a good match-up for anybody?). A listless, low-energy Djokovic might drop a set to Dzumhur – but it’s extremely unlikely. A much more probable outcome is an efficient straight-sets win for Djokovic.