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US Open: Djokovic avoids big upset as Rybakina crashes out


NOVAK Djokovic pulled off an epic comeback in the early hours of today to advance to the round of 16 of the US Open in New York.

The Serbian tennis great and world No.1 men’s player was on the verge of being at the receiving end of a stunning upset before he pulled himself together and continued his quest for a record-extending 24th Grand Slam title.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion came back from two sets down for the eighth time in his career to beat his compatriot Laslo Djere 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in the thriller in New York.

It is the first time since 2011 that Djokovic would win after going down two sets in the US Open, and he will face Borna Gojo tomorrow.

After the stirring comeback, Djokovic explained how he talked literally himself into not giving up.

“Actually I did. And I’m not lying. I did a pep talk in the mirror and kind of laughed at myself because I was so agitated. I had to force myself to lift myself up,” the 36-year-old said during his on-court interview.

“I really don’t care. What I need right now is to sleep, recover and recuperate this 36-year-old body.”

Meanwhile, 33-year-old Sorana Cirstea, playing at the US Open for the 15th time, finally reached the second week for the first time.

The Romanian veteran caused a major upset by beating Kazakhstani No.4 seed Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 in a match that took almost three hours.

The stunning win, one of the biggest in Cirstea’s career, took her to the last 16.

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