Djokovic ousts Petzschner in wild night at Ashe

It was a wild and crazy night in Arthur Ashe on Thursday as the No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic ousted Philip Petzschner of Germany in a rollercoaster straight set match, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).

The match began predictably enough with both players holding serve in the first set. Djokovic seemed poised to force the first break of the match in the eighth game of the set going up love-30 on Petzschner's serve, when play was interrupted by a commotion in the upper deck.

Petzschner was able to keep his head in the game and capitalize on the break in play. The 26-year-old Petzschner recovered from the 0-30 hole he had put himself in and went on to hold serve and even the set at 4-4.

Djokovic seemed distracted by the disruption in the crowd, which continued throughout the first set, double faulting twice and committing nine unforced errors. But he was still able to break Petzschner in the last game of the set to take a one-set lead in the match.

In a more predictable second set, Petzschner showed some signs of brilliant tennis play and was able to take some points off Djokovic's serve, but the 23-year-old Serb held strong and won points when it counted. He easily took the second set, 6-3.

Petzschner would not go quietly into the night, however. Early in the third set, the scrappy Petzschner began to frustrate Djokovic with tricky drop shots that the nimble Djokovic had to strain to reach, let alone get over the net. For the first time in the evening, Djokovic began to voice his frustration, talking to himself and waving his arms, showing the crowd why he's one of the more colorful players on tour.

At 3-2, with Djokovic serving 30-0, he double faulted twice in a row. Although Petzschner hit some beautiful shots, he couldn't convert the points and ended the game by netting a volley and then blasting the ball into the stands in frustration.

By that time in the match, Petzschner had wowed the crowd with daring slices, risky drop shots, and some punishing cross court forehands. Although not every shot went his way, the crowd had fallen in love with the underdog and began cheering his every move.When Djokovic broke his serve to take a 4-3 lead in the set, Petzschner answered right back, and with the raucous crowd behind him, broke Djokovic back for the first time in the match.

Both players held serve and the third set of the match was pushed to a tiebreak.

"You know, the crowd in the night enjoys it," Djokovic said. "They're looking for some entertainment. Late in the third set, we gave it to them. They were appreciating that then."

The show continued all the way through the tiebreak.

Petzschner opened the tiebreak with an ace that clocked in at 132 mph, but to the crowd's dismay followed up by returning Djokovic's serve right into the net. Petzschner and Djokovic then broke each other's serves, bringing the tie-break to 2-2.

On Djokovic's next serve, the two men battled it out pounding and slicing shots back and forth until Djokovic finally won the point and pumped his fist in the air. Petzschner answered back and stole the next point off Djokovic, then followed up by holding serve and going up 4-3. But Petzschner had two mental lapses in a row, hitting the next two returns right into the net.

The back and forth continued until Djokovic finally took control and won two points in a row to win the set send the match, after two hours, 23 minutes of play.

"Definitely, a lot of thinking towards the end of the third set," Djokovic said after the match when asked if he was afraid of the match being pushed to additional sets. "Pressure is on. You feel it. I wasn't putting a lot of first serves in. You know, you could feel I was a little bit shaky. But… he missed a crucial forehand on six-all. This is tennis. It can all turn around in a split of a second."

Djokovic will face American James Blake in the third round.

Match Facts

- Petzschner served six aces to Djokovic’s four.

- Petzschner clocked the fastest serve of the match at 135 mph.

- Djokovic’s fastest serve was 126 mph.

- Djokovic had eight double faults in the match.


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