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CASHBACK DJOKOVIC; US OPEN TENNIS ... Super Novak knocks em down so fast punters are after ticket refund.

Byline: TED TRACEY

NOVAK DJOKOVIC last night admitted he felt sorry for Carlos Berlocq and the fans who felt short-changed following his sensational destruction of the shell-shocked Argentine.

The world No.1 has blitzed through the opening two rounds of the US Open conceding just three games against Conor Niland and Berlocq.

Djokovic took only 90 minutes to brush aside Berlocq 6-0 6-0 6-2 in the early hours of yesterday morning, sending a clear message that he is the man to beat at Flushing Meadows.

The Serb is bidding for a hat-trick of Grand Slam titles in a phenomenal season and it is going to take an extraordinary performance from Andy Murray, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal to prevent him from adding to the Australian and Wimbledon crowns.

The top seed's masterful display at Arthur Ashe Stadium was as close to perfection as you are ever likely to see and matched anything Federer produced at the peak of his powers.

However, Djokovic revealed not everybody in the crowd appreciated his brilliance. He said: "Because the match was so short and the points so quick one of the spectators actually called me over on the way out.

WHITEWASH "He said: 'Hey, listen, I paid 100 bucks and you're only staying an hour and a half on the court. That's a lot to pay for a ticket. Give me something so I can go back home with a happy face.' He then asked me for my racquet!

"I was played good tennis but on the other hand we all try to engage the crowd. I think they got engaged in the third set which was nice.

"There was a lot more entertainment and even a through-the-legs shot.

"The crowd got behind Carlos at the end and we needed that in the match. It was more interesting."

Leading 2-0 in the third set, the tournament favourite looked odds-on for a whitewash against the unfortunate South American, who is far from a mug.

Djokovic, who has won 58 of his 60 matches this year, reckons it was as close to perfection as he could get.

Yet he still couldn't help but feel for the guy at the other side of the net.

He said: "The first two sets were ideal and I probably couldn't have played any better.

"I was getting a lot of balls back, ending the points when I needed to and making a lot of winners. My serve was good and my return was great.

"I felt fantastic on the court. And there is not much I can say when everything seems fun and enjoyable because you are playing such good tennis. I have been playing this well for a while this year.

"In some of my matches it felt as if I would never miss a ball.

"Any tennis player - any athlete even - will tell you that when you are playing perfectly everything seems so good. You are happy because that's exactly where you want your game to be - at the highest possible level.

FIGHTING "But I did feel for Carlos. Look we are professionals on the court and we need to do our job - to win regardless of who is across the net.

"However, I know Carlos off the court and he is a really nice guy.

"It's just on the court I had an answer for every shot he played.

"I felt for him at a certain stage of the match - in the third set where he was trying really hard. I have to give him credit for fighting."

Next up for Djokovic is Nikolay Davydenko and the 24-year-old is hoping to despatch the Russian in double-quick time in a bid to conserve his energy for the second week of the season's final Grand Slam.

He added: "This is a tournament where I want to perform at my best. So I will try to get my job done as quickly as possible to save energy.

"I've played a lot of matches this year so I don't think I lack any time on the court. I just like the matches going this way.

"The top players are expected to win the opening rounds quite comfortably and dropping a set is not something people like to see from us.

"Davydenko is under-rated. He's one of those players people are not talking about too much. But he is a good player who has won many titles in his career and been in the last four of the majors a couple of times.

"He has won against all the top players so he definitely cannot be underestimated. But if I continue playing this way I'm confident I have a good chance."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 3, 2011
Words:779
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