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Djokovic Beats Becker; Haas Sets Youzhny Clash

New York, U.S.A.

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic finished strongly against Benjamin Becker.

He didn’t have it all his own way in the early exchanges, but World No. 1 Novak Djokovic finished strongly to defeat Benjamin Becker 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2 in the US Open second round on Friday.

The Serb was denied on early break point chances in the first set before Becker seized his opportunity to break for a 5-4 lead. The German was unable to close out the opener, though, and Djokovic was in charge in the subsequent tie-break. Djokovic dropped only 10 points on serve in the following two sets as he raced to victory in one hour and 51 minutes.

"It was very tough," said Djokovic. "It was a lot of unforced errors, very windy conditions. You couldn't really read and kind of predict where the ball is going to go, so you have to be very alert. At the start I had difficulty with my footwork. But as I won a set after that, it was very much, much better."

The 26-year-old Djokovic is looking to maintain his grip on the World No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking and win his second major title of the year at Flushing Meadows. The Serb triumphed at the Australian Open (d. Murray) and was also runner-up at Wimbledon (l. to Murray). He has been to the final in New York the past three years, winning the title in 2011 (d. Nadal).

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The Belgrade native next will face Joao Sousa for a fourth-round spot. World No. 95 Sousa backed up his first-round upset win over Grigor Dimitrov with another five-set victory, knocking out Jarkko Nieminen 1-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The 24-year-old Portuguese player is enjoying his best run at a major championship.

Tommy Haas advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory over Yen-Hsun Lu. The German, who at 35 is the oldest man in the draw, is bidding to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the fourth time.

World No. 13 Haas came into the US Open on the back of a third-round effort in Cincinnati, where he pushed Roger Federer to three sets. The right-hander has a 41-17 match record on the season, highlighted by winning his 14th ATP World Tour title at the BMW Open in Munich (d. Kohlschreiber).

"Obviously I'm really happy to have played two solid matches now, and that gives you confidence going into the third round," said Haas. "Obviously tough opponent again who is also experienced. I'm just going to go out there and try to be ready for that and do my best to try to win that match.

"Putting yourself in a position to get further and to try to get the W, that's where you want to be. That's where I'm at right now, so it's just a matter of seeing where it takes you."

Haas goes on to face No. 21 seed Mikhail Youzhny, who dismissed Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 in just under two hours. Haas beat Youzhny in straight sets at Roland Garros this year to level their FedEx ATP Head2Head series at 4-4. The 31-year-old Youzhny is a two-time former semi-finalist in New York, reaching the last four in 2006 (l. to Roddick) and 2010 (l. to Nadal).

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