NEW YORK (AP) — Mardy Fish remembers how it feels to bump up against Novak Djokovic dragged down by the weight of two five-set matches.
The highest-seeded American man, Fish believes he’s ready to make a long run at this year’s U.S. Open. So far he’s giving himself every chance to do that with three workmanlike victories.
The eighth-seeded Fish earned another straight-set win Saturday. In 2010, he went to five sets twice in the first three rounds, then had to face Djokovic in the round of 16.
Fish lost in straight sets.
“I was just mentally and physically kind of drained to play someone like Novak in that next match,” Fish recalled. “Maybe I could have come up against him, game-wise, a lot better than the score was. But I was so tired I wasn’t ready for it.”
Fish needed a pair of tiebreakers to beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) in the third round Saturday, and it took 3 hours, 20 minutes. Fish estimated that he won 51 percent of the points; he was close — it was just under 53 percent.
In a match that tightly contested, he managed to avoid dropping a set.
“It’s huge,” Fish said. “Mentally, physically, everything.”
He’ll need all the strength he can muster for his upcoming matches. Fish faces 11th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or 19th-seeded Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round. His potential quarterfinal opponent is Roger Federer.
Fish mentioned 22-year-old fellow American Donald Young’s five-set Friday win as he described the value of getting himself off the court.
“You know, I’m 29. I don’t wake up in the morning feeling like I’m 20,” Fish said. “I don’t feel like Donald felt this morning. I’m sure he felt fine. I won’t feel like that tomorrow morning.”