NEW YORK — Defending U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic has advanced to the fourth round of the tournament with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win Sunday over 31st-seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau on an overcast and humid afternoon.
So far Djokovic, seeded second, hasn't lost a set and has only dropped 14 games. He needed only 1 hour, 37 minutes Sunday. The Serbian won three of the four major tournaments a year ago to become ranked No. 1 in the world. This is the fourth straight year Djokovic, who opened 2012 by taking the Australian Open, has reached the fourth round here.
But Rafael Nadal (who is missing the Open with a knee injury) won the French Open, top-seeded Roger Federer won Wimbledon and third-seeded Andy Murray won the Olympic gold medal, setting up the Open as perhaps the place where the winner will earn bragging rights for the season if not the No. 1 ranking. Djokovic is now 32-3 on hard courts this season and holds a 19-0 streak over French players. Next up for Djokovic will be the winner of a third-round match between 14th-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine and 18th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.
Early Sunday morning, close to 2 a.m. and well after most people had left Arthur Ashe Stadium, 23rd-seeded Mardy Fish, completed a mini-upset of 16th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon. Fish won 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3. Fish somehow earned a spot against top-seeded Roger Federer, who holds an 8-1 career advantage over Fish, despite committing 75 unforced errors while playing against an opponent who had a sore serving shoulder and who sometimes had a difficult time hitting 100 miles per hour on first serves.