Djokovic wary of Berrettini's 'hammer' in q-finals
Novak Djokovic warned that his Grand Slam quest faces a tough challenge from Italian sixth seed Matteo Berrettini in the US Open quarter-finals as they meet in a third consecutive Slam.
The 34-year-old Serbian advanced within three matches of completing the first calendar-year Grand Slam in 52 years yesterday morning (Singapore time) by fending off 99th-ranked American Jenson Brooksby 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Not since Rod Laver in 1969 has a man swept all four Major titles in the same year.
If top-ranked Djokovic wins his fourth career US Open crown, he will hold the men's all-time record of 21 Slam titles, breaking the deadlock he now has with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries.
Next up for the world No. 1 is a Wimbledon final rematch against Berrettini, whom Djokovic called the "Hammer of Tennis" for having "probably the hardest hitter of serve and forehand" next to 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro.
"He's got the lethal-serve-plus-one game. He's already established as a top player," Djokovic said.
Djokovic beat Berrettini in four sets in both the French Open quarter-final and July's Wimbledon final, and won their only other meeting at the 2019 ATP Finals.
Shelby Rogers, who knocked out top seed Ashleigh Barty in the third round, was yesterday sent packing by 18-year-old Briton Emma Raducanu 6-2, 6-1 in the round of 16.
As if the exit was not hard enough to deal with, the American said she would most likely have to contend with death threats on social media.
Several players at this year's US Open have said such things are now part of sport with much of the abuse coming from gamblers hooked on online betting.
"I'm going to have nine million death threats and whatnot," said Rogers with a shrug.
"You could probably go through my profile right now, I'm probably a fat pig and words that I can't say right now."
Fellow American Sloane Stephens, who is Black, said she received a torrent of angry messages on social media, including racist and sexist abuse, following her third-round loss to Angelique Kerber. - AFP, REUTERS