World No.1 Novak Djokovic faces a fight to keep his hopes of a Grand Slam alive, after dropping the first set of his US Open quarter-final to Italian Matteo Berrettini.
The sixth seed took a marathon set 7-5 in 77 minutes, as the two traded blows in a match of both high quality and intensity.
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Berrettini secured the only break of the first set with a crosscourt forehand that left Djokovic stranded at the net, having moved to his left in anticipation of an attempted pass up the line.
The Serbian showed his frustration at the change of ends, gesturing to his team and muttering to himself.
“You don’t see that too often,” said ESPN’s Chris Fowler.
Sitting courtside, Patrick McEnroe said Djokovic was just blowing off steam.
“I was looking at the camp the entire time and nobody moved a muscle,” he explained.
“It didn’t look like he was talking to any one person in particular, just venting.”
Djokovic bounced back immediately, breaking Berrettini in the fourth game of the second set, and again in the eighth game to take the set 6-2.
It’s the eighth time this year that Djokovic has dropped the first set of a match at a grand slam, including his last two matches in New York, against Jenson Brooksby and Kei Nishikori.
Berrettini took the first set off Djokovic in the Wimbledon final earlier this year, before the Serbian rallied to win in four.
The winner of today’s match plays Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals.
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