NEW YORK (AP) — Novak Djokovic came all the way back from a two-set deficit to beat Laslo Djere 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in the third round of the U.S. Open to avoid what would have been his earliest exit there since 2006.
The match began under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night and did not wrap up until more than 3 1/2 hours later, concluding just after 1:30 a.m. on Saturday.
It was Djokovic’s eighth career victory after dropping the opening two sets of a match. He also improved to 38-11 in five-setters over his career.
Djokovic has won three of his men’s-record 23-time Grand Slam titles at Flushing Meadows and been the runner-up a half-dozen times, including in 2021. He did not compete in the U.S. Open last year because he couldn’t travel to the United States as a foreigner who is not vaccinated against COVID-19; that rule was lifted this May.
Djere was seeded 32nd and trying to make it to the fourth round at a major tournament for the first time.
Both men are from Serbia and have known each other for years. They have practiced together, competed as doubles partners on tour and been Davis Cup teammates.
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