Novak Djokovic will head into the US Open in winning form after the Serbian star bounced back from a nightmare first set to defeat Milos Raonic and capture the title at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Saturday.
Djokovic dropped the first set 6-1 to Raonic as he struggled to cope with a neck injury, and served an uncharacteristic four double-faults in the opening set to effectively hand the set to his opponent.
But Djokovic battled back to win the last two sets 6-3, 6-4 as he claimed the title in the warm-up tournament for the US Open, which kicks off tomorrow.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner’s victory extended his perfect run of results in 2020 to 23-0 as he captured the 80th title of his glittering tennis career and equaled Rafa Nadal’s record of 35 Masters 1000 event victories.
“Was a bit slow at the beginning, but I thought I did well, considering the form that Milos is in,” the 33-year-old Serbian told reporters after the match.
“He’s serving rockets on the court, and it’s really hard to return. You need all the freshness mentally and all the focus that you can possibly have.”
Djokovic will take on Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in his opening round match at the US Open on Monday, with the tournament set to take place with no fans in the stands at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“There is a certain tension,” said Djokovic.
“Everyone is obviously being careful, but at the same time everyone needs to pay attention and follow the protocols and restrictions that are in place.”