|US Open 2019|
|Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep|
|Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.|
Defending champion Novak Djokovic battled through a shoulder injury to make the US Open third round with a win over Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero.
The top seed needed treatment three times, but still went on to win 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-1.
“It was definitely affecting my serve and my backhand,” said Djokovic, who lost his serve five times.
The Serb added he had not felt that “kind of sensation too many times” in his career.
“I didn’t know if I would be able to finish the match. I’m really glad I have,” he said.
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Fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic will be Djokovic’s next opponent if he beats American Denis Kudla.
Their meeting was one of the many second-round matches cancelled on Wednesday after rain decimated play in New York.
Only the eight matches played underneath the closed roofs on Arthur Ashe Stadium – where 16-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic beat Londero in the first match of the night session – and Louis Armstrong Stadium survived the drizzle which fell for the majority of the third day.
Treatment helped Djokovic ‘stay in the match’
Djokovic, 32, is favourite to win his fourth title at Flushing Meadows after winning four of the past five Grand Slams, yet the sight of him needing intense massages in his second-round match may provide hope to his rivals that the Serb is not invincible.
Djokovic asked for a first medical timeout immediately before breaking back for 3-3 in the first set, calling the trainer again moments after he clinched the opener by outlasting Londero in a 22-shot rally.
Londero, who had never played in the main draw at Flushing Meadows until this tournament, managed to take advantage in a fluctuating second set where he led 3-0 and trailed 5-3 before forcing a tie-break.
However, Djokovic upped the intensity to dominate the second-set decider and encountered few problems from then on.
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Despite his obvious struggles, Djokovic showed little sign of frustration throughout the first two sets, although hammering a ball into the court between serves when Londero broke again at the start of the third set did indicate his displeasure and discomfort.
Nevertheless, Djokovic quickly ran away with the final set as Londero starting racking up unforced errors, winning in two hours and 15 minutes.
“I was also lucky to find my way back in the second set and to win in straight sets,” Djokovic added.
“At changeovers, I tried to use within the rules as much as I can physiotherapy and medical help. That has definitely helped me stay in the match.
“The good thing about Grand Slams is you have a day off in between the matches. I’m hoping that with proper medical help and treatments, I’ll be able to get myself in a better state than I was today.”
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