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Second-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia will lock horns with World No. 35 Julien Benneteau of France on Sunday to secure his berth in the last sixteen at this year’s last Grand Slam Tournament – US Open. The Serbian has not been tested much in his previous encounters here at Flushing Meadows this time, but now he is up against rejuvenated Frenchman Benneteau, who has been producing some good results on tour this season.
The Serbian has had a dream run in the last season – with three Grand Slams and ten ATP Masters titles, Djokovic just looked way ahead of his opponents in 2011. His probing backhand was simply unplayable at times for even his greatest nemesis Rafael Nadal, whom he beat in six finals last season. Obviously, Djokovic set so high standards for him in the last season that we as tennis lovers expected more from him in the ongoing season. He started off brilliantly by defending his Aussie Open title where he beat Rafael Nadal yet again in an epic title final. Things did look pretty good for the Serbian afterwards but then we saw the reinvention of great Swiss Roger Federer. Once again Djokovic could not solve Rafa riddle at French Open and then he failed to reach the final at Wimbledon. With 57-10 win-loss record and three titles in 2012, Djokovic has certainly achieved so much but obviously his last year’s exploits will always come into comparison game, whenever we would scrutinize his progress in future.
Djokovic’s opponent is thirty years old Frenchman Benneteau, who turned professional in 2000, but he is still bidding for his maiden title on tour. The Frenchman has an ordinary 21-18 win-loss record for the season, but he belongs to the category of those tricky opponents who can surprise the big guns on any given day with momentarily improved performance.
In head-to-head, Djokovic leads with 4-1 against the Frenchman. Last time they met in Toronto Masters in 2010 where the Serbian topped Benneteau in straight sets. The Serbian must be looking forward to repeat that performance.
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