In a thrilling US Open 2023 match that began under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night and extended beyond 3 1/2 hours, Novak Djokovic emerged victorious against compatriot Laslo Djere, securing his eighth career victory after losing the first two sets. The match finally concluded just after 1:30 a.m., leaving fans at the edge of their seats.
Djokovic, a renowned maestro of comebacks, once again displayed his resilience on the court. He now boasts a remarkable 38-11 record in five-setters throughout his illustrious career. Once he seized control of the match, he held on tenaciously, never allowing Djere an opportunity to recover. In the crucible of the fifth set, Novak Djokovic‘s composure shone through as he dominated with a staggering 12 out of the initial 14 points, leaving no doubt about the outcome.
Following his crowning victory at the Cincinnati Open, Novak Djokovic faced a similar challenge. He had to fight his 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, thwarting a shock defeat that likely rewound the memory of his earliest exit in 2006.
“Trust me,” Djokovic said, “it was nerve-racking all the way until the last shot.”
With three of his historic 23 Grand Slam titles claimed at Flushing Meadows, Djokovic has established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the US Open stage. His runner-up status in the tournament, including in 2021, underscores his consistent excellence. Notably, the 36-year-old Serb was absent from the 2020 U.S. Open due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions for unvaccinated foreigners. However, this rule was lifted in May 2023, enabling his return to the grand slam.
Heading into this year’s US Open as the No. 2 seed, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz have been widely anticipated to clash for the championship on September 10, setting the stage for a riveting rematch of their Wimbledon final in July, which Alcaraz won in five sets. Djere, a 28-year-old fellow Serb and the 32nd seed in New York, nearly derailed this highly anticipated showdown.
Novak Djokovic Masterful Display of Gritty Tennis at US Open 2023
For Djere, this would have marked the pinnacle of his career. He aimed to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time and faced a daunting 0-6 record at majors against Top 10-ranked opponents. Surprisingly, the usual intimidation factor that favors Djokovic in most matchups appeared to be absent on this cool evening. The two countrymen share a long history of knowing each other, practicing together, serving as Davis Cup teammates, and even competing as doubles partners on tour.
At the end of this epic encounter, Djokovic and Djere showed their mutual respect and camaraderie, sharing a heartfelt hug at the net. Djokovic applauded as Djere gracefully left the court.
Reflecting on his performance, Djokovic said, “I didn’t have many options in the beginning, but in the third, I kind of lifted myself up. Once I got the break in the third, I thought, ‘Okay, I have a shot. I have a chance. I might as well go after it… I started to read his game more than I did in the first two sets.”