Novak Djokovic dropped only two games in thrashing hapless Argentinian Carlos Berlocq 6-0, 6-0, 6-2 in the second round of the US Open.
After the world No. 1’s cruise against Conor Niland in round one, when he had won all but one game before the Irishman retired with food poisoning in the second set, it took Djokovic’s tally to 29 games won and only three lost.
At least Niland had a valid excuse, for poor Berlocq there was nowhere to hide under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
To the 28-year-old’s credit he entered into the spirit of the occasion and the crowd were certainly not short-changed in entertainment. Berlocq, who favours clay, persisted in playing about three metres behind the baseline, allowing his opponent to dictate play on almost every rally as the underdog scampered from side to side, usually in vain.
Djokovic dropped only eight points in the first set and 12 in the second, and for a long time it looked like Berlocq would be the victim of the rare ‘triple bagel’.
Berlocq turned to Djokovic in exasperation after losing an exchange that gave the Serb his 14th game in a row, but he received the loudest cheer of the night in the next game as he finally got on the board with a thumping backhand winner.
He broke the top seed’s serve again but it was merely a matter of pride for the 28-year-old as Djokovic, who set up match point with a hotdog shot through his legs, booked a meeting with Nikolay Davydenko in round three.
Berlocq may have been a long way away from winning the match but he certainly gained a few fans and he left the court to a standing ovation.
The result capped a day of thrashings on Arthur Ashe, with the five losers managing only 14 games between them, half of those coming from Dudi Sela during his defeat by Roger Federer.