NEW YORK — There aren’t many people on planet Earth who are up to the sheer physical effort it takes to beat Novak Djokovic in a best-of-five set match.
Maybe one day, when 20-year-old American Jenson Brooksby’s body fully matures and he can add a few miles per hour to that serve, he’ll have the tools to be one of them. Because for nearly two hours under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday, the youngster from Sacramento showed what was possible. Then, in a 45-minute sprint to the finish line, Djokovic showed who’s boss.
It certainly wasn’t easy for Djokovic, trying to complete the exceedingly rare calendar Grand Slam, to neutralize Brooksby’s unconventional game break his willingness to fight past the point of exhaustion. But eventually, as most do, Brooksby could only go on so long as Djokovic pulled away to a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory that sends him into a quarterfinal matchup Wednesday against No. 6 seed Matteo Berrettini.
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Not often has Djokovic had to work so hard this early in a Grand Slam to win a match that failed to go five sets and didn’t even feature any tiebreakers. Then again, he’s only lost a set as lopsided as 6-1 five times in his entire history at the majors.