Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Djokovic advances to potential US Open quarterfinal showdown with Federer
By ADAM ZAGORIANEW YORK — Novak Djokovic has done his part. Now it’s up to Roger Federer.
Playing in brutally steamy conditions Monday afternoon in Arthur Ashe Stadium, No. 6 Djokovic advanced in his fourth-round US Open match over Joao Sousa of Portugal, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in an even two hours. The on-court temperature was estimated at 130 degrees.
If No. 2 Federer beats Australia’s John Millman during their night match, US Open fans will be treated to a quarterfinal delight on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old Djokovic leads the 37-year-old Federer 24-22 all time, and won their most recent match in the Cincinnati final two weeks ago in convincing fashion, 6-4, 6-4.
“Next to [Rafael]Nadal, [Federer is] my biggest rival I’ve had throughout my professional career,” Djokovic said. “The matches I’ve played against him have shaped me into the player that I am today.
“Matches against Nadal and Federer, and [Andy] Murray as well, have made me the player I am today because those were the guys that I always wanted to win against because those were the guys I had to beat in order to be the No. 1, to win slams, and have the career that I had behind me.”
Djokovic leads Federer 9-6 in Grand Slam matches, but they are dead even at 3-all in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Federer beat Djokovic in the 2015 US Open final and in the semis in 2010 and ’11 when Federer held two match points in both of those matches. Before that, Federer topped Djokovic in the 2007 US Open final, and then again in the semis in 2008 and ’09.
Djokovic has won their last three encounters and four of the last five.
They are tied 13-all on outdoor hardcourts.
Between them, they have won the US Open seven times, with Federer winning the title five years straight (2004-08) and Djokovic holding the trophy twice (2011, ’15).
“Djokovic, to me, is back to being what he was a couple years ago and he’ll be ready for Roger,” ESPN’s John McEnroe said on air, referring to Djokovic’s titles this summer at Wimbledon and in Cincinnati. “Roger will have to play his best.”
Federer is the all-time men’s leader with 20 Grand Slam titles, with Nadal trailing at 17 and Djokovic (13) closing in on Pete Sampras (14) behind them.
Nadal, the No. 1 seed and defending US Open champ, sits on the opposite side of the draw and will face No. 9 Dominic Thiem in the quarters on Tuesday night. Nadal could face No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro or American No. 11 John Isner in the semis.
Federer and Nadal have met at every other Grand Slam event but have never squared off at the US Open.
“At the beginning of the career, I probably wasn’t seeing things that I’m seeing them now in terms of being in an era with these guys,” Djokovic said. “Now I’m grateful that I was, that I still am, in the era with these guys, that I get a chance to witness their greatness as well, their rivalry, Nadal and Federer, which is the biggest rivalry, one of the biggest, of all time, and at the same time to be competing against them on such a big stage every year for a long time.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.