Tue, Mar 29, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Djokovic thrashes Blake to extend his win streak


Novak Djokovic ran this year’s phenomenal win streak to 20-0 on Sunday, with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of former top 10 player James Blake at the US$9 million Miami WTA and ATP Masters.

The second-seeded Serb, winner of all three events he has played this season, remains the only man in the top 125 not to have lost a match this year.

Fresh from beating Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal en route to victory in last week’s Indian Wells Masters, Djokovic is bidding to add a second Miami trophy to the one he won in 2007.

Djokovic raced to victory in 52 minutes to reach the fourth round of the tournament that concludes next Sunday.

“It has been a dream run for me the last couple of months,” said Djokovic, who opened his year with an Australian Open triumph. “I’m playing the best tennis of my life.”

Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro also advanced on Sunday, storming further down his comeback path with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over fourth-seeded Swede Robin Soderling.

Del Potro, who beat Roger Federer for the 2009 US Open crown, but then missed eight months last year as he recovered from wrist surgery, thrilled his fans at Crandon Park with a victory over one of the year’s hottest players.

Soderling has won 20 matches this year and three titles.

However, now del Potro has pulled alongside him as he produced his own 20th win this year.

Del Potro, ranked 51st but climbing fast, has won five of his last seven matches against top-four players and has now beaten Soderling in their last three encounters.

Spain’s David Ferrer, the world No. 6, also produced a third-round victory as he defeated Indian Somdev Devvarman 6-4, 6-2. Mardy Fish kept the US flag flying as he defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-3.

Home events have been to Fish’s liking, with the right-hander reaching semi-finals in Memphis, Tennessee, and Delray Beach, Florida, last month.

Fish is ranked a career-best 15th, and if he wins two more rounds, he’ll overtake long-time friend Andy Roddick as the top-ranked American in men’s tennis.

Roddick lost his opening match on Saturday and is expected to drop from eighth to about 15th in the next rankings, the lowest he has been since 2002. However, Fish said there’s no comparison between his accomplishments and Roddick’s.

“I don’t think it would mean that much, to be honest,” Fish said. “I certainly wouldn’t feel like the top-ranked American, considering what Andy has accomplished and what I’ve accomplished. His career has quadrupled mine, at least. I wouldn’t be the No. 1 American, really.”

Roddick is a five-time Grand Slam finalist who won the 2003 US Open and finished that year ranked No. 1. Fish’s record in major events is barely above .500 and he has made the top 20 in the year-end rankings only twice.

However, at 29, Fish is in the best condition of his career. That showed against Gasquet in the midday sun on a hot afternoon.

“Playing out there today, you can obviously see why you need to be fit to win these matches,” Fish said.

Belgian Kim Clijsters led a string of women’s seeds into the fourth round. The second-seed and winner of the last two Grand Slams got past tricky Spanish left-hander Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

“My footwork wasn’t right there and I was not playing the game that I should be playing,” Clijsters said. “I’m the one who should be going for the lines and being aggressive and step into the court.

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