After a week of punishing heat that saw a record 13 players retire, cooler temperatures returned to Flushing Meadows as world number one Djokovic eased to a third round 6-3 7-5 7-5 victory over Italian Andreas Seppi.
               
Cilic also kept his title defence on track but not without a scare as the ninth seed needed over four hours to put away Kazakhstan's 56th-ranked Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7(5) 7-6(1) 6-3 6-7(3) 6-1.
               
"I'm happy with the fighting spirit today, just accepting that I wasn't playing so well," said Cilic. "For sure (being defending champion always has some weight to it. Playing on a big court with a full house, that's going to give you some extra motivation in the situations like today when I was a set and 5-2 down”, he added.
               
It had been a trouble-free visit to New York for Djokovic, the top seeded Serb not dropping a set while losing just 10 games going into his match against Seppi.
              
But the 25th-ranked Italian at least made Djokovic work for his spot in the round of 16, the world number one needing a tiring two and a half hours at Arthur Ashe Stadium to secure his victory.
               
"Just hanging in there, trying to create my own pace and control the rallies," Djokovic said. "It was a tough three sets”, he added.

 

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