Djokovic lets emotions show at US Open

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Novak Djokovic has let it all out during this US Open third-round win over Kei Nishikori, slapping his chest or sneering with a fist raised to celebrate success, pointing to his ear to ask the crowd for more noise.

This was the Djokovic everyone is so accustomed to seeing - yes, winning on the grand slam stage, of course, as he always does in this magical season, but also animated and into it, encouraging the spectators to join him for the ride on his path toward tennis history.

Taking another step in his bid to complete the first calendar-year slam by a man in more than a half-century, Djokovic moved into the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows for the 14th consecutive appearance, coming back to beat Nishikori 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-3 6-2.

"I don't plan to have those kind of emotional moments on the court, whether good or bad. It just happens," Djokovic said.

"In the heat of the battle, when you feel like the moment is very important ... you just want to get those things out of yourself, out of your system - try to, I guess, ride on that energy wave that you create, whether it's with yourself, whether it's with the crowd."

World No.1 Djokovic is now 24-0 in the sport's four most important events this season, having won the Australian Open in February, the French Open in June and Wimbledon in July.

The last man to go 4 for 4 at the majors was Rod Laver in 1969; Steffi Graf was the last woman, in 1988.

Win four more matches next week, and Djokovic would earn his 21st career slam trophy, breaking the men's mark he currently shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"I would not be honest fully if I told you I don't think or I don't believe or I don't visualise that I can win every single grand slam that I play in," Djokovic said.

"I'm not surprised when I win slams and big tournaments because that's always a goal."

It was in the fourth round last year that Djokovic's US Open ended, defaulted late in the first set for hitting a ball after ceding a game and inadvertently hitting a line judge in the throat.

In 2019, an injury ended his trip to New York in the fourth round, too.

Next up for Djokovic will be a match against 20-year-old American wildcard Jenson Brooksby, who stunned Australian Open semi-finalist and 21st seed Aslan Karatsev 6-2 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-3.

After eliminating a couple of inexperienced opponents ranked 121st and 145th, Djokovic faced someone with a far better resume in Nishikori, who was the runner-up at the 2014 US Open and has been as high as No.4.

Here, though, was the problem for Nishikori heading into this encounter: He'd lost his past 16 matches against Djokovic.

While the Japanese ace, to loud roars from the stands in Arthur Ashe Stadium, stole the first set, the march to No.17 in a row was soon in progress for Serbian superstar Djokovic.

"I couldn't break the wall," Nishikori said.

"He's very tough 'til the end."

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