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Sandgren to cross off bucket-list goal against Djokovic at US Open
Published Aug 30, 2018
NEW YORK—Tennys Sandgren won his first-ever match at the US Open on Tuesday. That may be hard to believe given the 27-year-old reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open seven months ago, but it’s the cold, hard truth.
In seven appearances, the world No. 61 had only won one round of qualifying. On his eighth attempt, he whipped past Viktor Troicki, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, challenged further by the boiling hot day.
"It's nice to get out of the first round at least," Sandgren said. "I've always wanted to do well at this tournament."
His next opponent, Novak Djokovic, will be on familiar ground on Thursday: Arthur Ashe Stadium. It will be Sandgren's first time playing under the lights on Ashe, but it won't be first time he's faced Djokovic on a show court. Sandgren was the world No. 6's first victim on his way to the Wimbledon crown last month.
"Last couple months have been really good for me on the court," Djokovic said. "Wimbledon win was a huge relief, I think, more than anything else, because I just personally put a lot of expectations and pressure on myself."
Djokovic’s season is on a massive upswing, while Sandgren has been trying to catch a break.
"I think luck helps as far as getting a few breakthroughs," Sandgren said. "But there's no luck in winning a Slam."
The American has gone through some huge ups and downs. He hit his career high of No. 46 in April after reaching the Houston final, but that’s when a five-match losing streak kicked off, and injuries have plagued his performance.
"I'm definitely used to more downs than ups so to have a nice upswing there for a portion of the time was pretty cool," Sandgren said.
For the majority of his career, the American's biggest career goal was to crack the Top 100. Then everything changed. He rose over 40 ranking spots after his Australian Open run, and proved he's got a lot more potential than just being a Top 100 journeyman.
"I think I can make it into the Top 20 at some point in my career," Sandgren said. "If I can keep improving, playing well, stay healthy and make some more mental strides."
Win or lose on Thursday as the opening night-session match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Sandgren will get to cross another career goal off his list.
"That's like a bucket list thing for sure," he said.
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