LONDON (Dispatches) - On an evening when it seemed nothing could derail Novak Djokovic’s charge towards a record-setting 21st major singles title and the first calendar-year grand slam in men’s tennis in 52 years, it was a mouthy spectator in the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd who did more to trouble the world No 1 than his opponent on the court.
Serving at 4-2, 30-all in the second set against the 121st-ranked Tallon Griekspoor during their U.S. Open second-round match on Thursday night, Djokovic missed a routine overhand to go break point down for the first time in the match, then shot a glare in the direction of a fan who made noise during the point.
The miscue was compounded immediately when Djokovic was broken after overcooking a backhand. But rather than stew or combust, the best player in the world and top seed in the men’s draw broke back immediately and cruised to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory in 99 brisk minutes.
The heckler, as it turned out, went down as quietly as the 25-year-old Griekspoor, who had crushed 30 aces in a first-round win over Jan-Lennard Struff, including one that clocked in at 149mph. He managed only five against Djokovic, who won 80% of his first-serve points and half of his Dutch opponent’s service games before closing the show with his 13th ace of the night on match point.