Sunday, April 21, 2019 | ePaper
Djokovic downs Delbonis, Halep battles into Miami 4th round
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, celebrates after his match against Federico Delbonis of Argentina, during the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami Gardens, Fla on Sunday. Djokovic won 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.
Novak Djokovic remains on course for a record seventh Miami Open title, but the world number one admitted to a loss of focus in a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory over spirited Federico Delbonis which booked his place in the last 16.
Djokovic is hoping to eclipse Andre Agassi's six ATP crowns in South Florida over the next week and although the 31-year-old endured some shaky moments at Hard Rock Stadium, he still possessed enough quality during the key moments to see off the battling Delbonis.
The Serbian, though, wasn't happy with letting a 5-2 advantage slip in the first set and became furious with himself as the second squirmed from his grasp.
He will need to tighten up his game if he is to reach next Sunday's final with Roberto Bautista Agut waiting in the fourth round after the Spaniard defeated Italian Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-4.
"To be honest, I lost my focus," said Djokovic who smashed 36 winners compared to 24 from Delbonis. "I should have done better I think mentally than I have done at the end of the first two sets.
"I managed to really play well last couple games of first set, go up a break, put myself in front, then I played a couple of really bad service games. Credit to Federico, he stepped in."
Djokovic had looked impressive in the second round win over Bernard Tomic and the Serbian continued his decent form by immediately imposing himself onto the Argentine.
Djokovic moved 5-2 ahead but after he missed a set point opportunity on the Delbonis serve, his game deserted him and suddenly, the South American had a spring in his step.
Delbonis had opportunities to steal ahead, yet calling on all his experience and mental resolve, the Serbian was able to hold firm and take the opener.
The world number one was getting incredibly frustrated , he received a warning for racquet abuse and was furious for allowing a 3-1 lead to slip in the second, yet credit to Delbonis who stayed calm and served out confidently to force a decider, something which looked beyond him midway through the opening set.