Djokovic moves into US Open second round with masterful performance
Novak Djokovic barely broke sweat as he put Roberto Carballes Baena to the sword with a routine win in the first round of the US Open.
The Serb had to wait until the end of the first set to claim his first break of serve but even before that point, there was never any panic in the Djokovic camp and the match clock had not even reached two hours when he completed a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Novak Djokovic did not have to work too hard for his win over Roberto Carballes BaenaGetty Images
Djokovic has not lost a first-round match in a Grand Slam since 2006 when he was beaten by Paul Goldstein - who never made the top 50 - at the Australian Open. At Flushing Meadows, he has a 100 per cent record in both of the opening two rounds.
Carballes Baena meanwhile came into this match with just two Grand Slam victories to his name and a career-high ranking of 72.
Anyone expecting a classic on Arthur Ashe was sorely mistaken: Djokovic is likely to have had more challenging hits with his coach.
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Even Carballes Baena himself admitted beforehand that he would have to cherish every minute of being out there, because it wasn't likely to be long or very competitive.
"I am very happy because it’s the first time I’ll play on the centre court here and I get to play against the No 1 player in the world,” he had said ahead of the match.
The No 1 seed had the pressure on from the very start, forcing three break points in his opponent's opening service game, but it took him until the 10th game of the match to break down the Carballes Baena serve to take the opening set.
As happens so often, a tight set on the scoreboard led to a much more open one after as Djokovic constructed a new tactical plan that was more effective, and it worked; he lost one point on his serve in the entire second set.
The writing was clearly on the wall and the crowd descended into a muted hubbub, occasionally sparked into life by Djokovic's masterful manipulation of the court, which was left far too open by his Spanish opponent.
It could be a few days before we see anyone get too excited about the chances of upsetting Djokovic's apple-cart.