US Open 2018: Novak Djokovic sets up potential Roger Federer tie

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic won the US Open in 2015 and was runner-up the following year at Flushing Meadows
2018 US Open
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 27 August-9 September Coverage: Live radio coverage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website

Novak Djokovic beat Joao Sousa 6-3 6-4 6-3 to reach the US Open quarter-finals, where he could meet long-time rival Roger Federer.

Two-time champion Djokovic broke twice in the first set but had to recover from a break down in the second.

The Serb, 31, struggled physically in the third set and went off court for a medical time-out when he led 2-1.

But he got the crucial break to take a 5-3 lead before serving out the match to secure his place in the last eight.

The Wimbledon champion has never lost a set against the Portuguese world number 68, who had reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Djokovic has reached the semi-finals of the US Open in every year he has competed since 2006.

He will face Federer next if the Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion beats Australian John Millman later.

The former world number ones have not faced each other this early in a Grand Slam since the 2007 Australian Open, when Federer won to reach the last eight.

Millman, the world number 52, knocked out 14th seed Fabio Fognini in the second round.

Meanwhile, 2014 finalist Kei Nishikorireached the last eight after beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-2 7-5.

The world number 19 will face either Marin Cilic or David Goffin in the last eight.

‘Sometimes you just have to survive’

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic was visibly struggling at the end of the second set and at the beginning of the third

Despite winning in straight sets, it was not a comfortable afternoon for Djokovic.

He appeared to struggle with the humidity at the end of the second set and asked for towels of ice to be placed around his neck and on top of his head during the changeovers.

The Serb had similar issues in his first-round match with Marton Fucsovics – he was unsteady on his feet and asked for a sick bucket to be put next to his chair.

Djokovic was breathing heavily in the third set and signalled to the medical team before receiving treatment off court.

“I prefer not to talk about how difficult it was,” said Djokovic. “We are blessed to play this sport and this is one of the biggest stages.

“I’m not 21 any more. I still don’t feel old but at the same time there is a biological clock that doesn’t work in your favour like it does when you’re 20.

“You have a team to get you ready, but sometimes you just have to survive.”

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