Djokovic swats away challenge of Davydenko
Novak Djokovic overcame some stiff resistance from Nikolay Davydenko in the early stages before easing into the fourth round of the US Open with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 win.
The last match of the evening session always provides an electric atmosphere and Davydenko played his part in keeping the crowd interested with some excellent play. But like all bar two players in the whole of the season, the Russian found Djokovic too tough to crack.
Djokovic started well, with a couple of blistering forehands, and after one point it prompted Davydenko to send his racket to the stringer for a drop in tension - a sign that he felt he needed more power.
Power alone would not get the job done for Davydenko who has always struggled for consistency and it showed in the fourth game as an awful service game - capped with a double fault - handed the break to Djokovic.
The Serb, though, did not romp away with the set and Davydenko found some form from the back of the court and snappy hitting on the forehand earned him the break back. But just when it appeared Davydenko may have Djokovic rattled, the Serb upped the pace of his return of serve and broke back for a second time to claim the set.
Davydenko produced some blistering play at the start of the second set, saving three break points in the opening game with some crunching winners and he worked break points during a mammoth Djokovic service game but the Russian failed to convert.
His excellent hitting at least gave him the belief that he could compete and he was able to dominate exchanges, with Djokovic seemingly content to play conservatively - hitting with more topspin than has been the case during his stunning season to date.
It appeared Djokovic was happy to play defensively, feeling the errors would eventually come off the Davydenko racket. It was a policy that made for a more attritional test but it bore fruit in seventh game of the second set as he worked a break point and his Russian rival pulled a forehand wide.
Djokovic won his following two service games to love to secure a two-set cushion, with Davydenko's body language suggesting the fight had been dragged out of him.
That opinion was reinforced in the first game of the third set, as the Russian surrendered his serve with a whimper.
Andy Murray is famed for his defensive skills, but the Brit has a rival in Djokovic. He found himself scampering around the back of the court early in the third set but simply refused to wilt and on the 21st stroke the error came from his bewildered opponent.
A second service break was sealed when Djokovic thumped a forehand return across the face of Davydenko, suggesting the level can be upped a notch or two as and when he is tested. Because he was not really tested in sealing victory in two hours and seven minutes.
Up next for Djokovic is Alexandr Dolgopolov battled back from the loss of the first set to beat Ivo Karlovic 6-7(4) 6-2 6-4 6-4.