Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns a shot to Julien Benneteau, of France, in the third round of play at the 2012 US Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, in New York.
Novak Djokovic woke up early and got things over with in a hurry Sunday at the U.S. Open.
Serving as the warm-up act for Andy Roddick in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the defending champion completed his second straight match without facing a break point and defeated No. 31 Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the fourth round for the sixth straight year.
Djokovic needed only 1 hour, 37 minutes to clear out of the stadium, where Roddick was the headliner on Sunday's schedule.
Last week, the 2003 champion announced he would retire after the U.S. Open. He followed Djokovic onto the court for a third-round match against Italy's Fabio Fognini.
Roddick could only hope he'd be in for as easy a time as Djokovic had. The No. 2 seed from Serbia faced a break point in the opening game of the tournament, against Paolo Lorenzi. Djokovic lost that point and hasn't faced one since.
"Obviously, the serve is something I've wanted to improve the last 15 months or so," Djokovic said. "I wanted to get more free points on the first serve. Today, it was working very well."
Djokovic finished with 13 aces with a top service speed of 128 mph. He said he's not so used to early wake-up calls at the season's last major, where he has made the final the last two years and is more used to playing in prime time. To make sure he wouldn't be late for the third-round match, he shaved the night before and had a bit of stubble jutting from his chin by the early afternoon.
"I'm not always the morning person, to be honest," Djokovic said. "You try to go to bed early and try to wake up early and get your body moving obviously. I wanted to start very sharp from the first point, and I've done that."
Djokovic's entire match took only 23 minutes longer than the first set between No. 4 David Ferrer and 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt in Armstrong Stadium. Ferrer saved five set points in the first-set tiebreaker then went on to a 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory to advance to the fourth round for the 10th straight Grand Slam tournament.
After saving his fifth set point, Ferrer won the point of the match, scrambling from side to side at the net to pick up back-to-back volleys by Hewitt, then angling off a backhand winner to set up his second set point, which he won.
Hewitt broke early in the second set and got even in the match. But the 31-year-old, little more than three months removed from an operation to reconstruct the big toe on his left foot, wore down in the muggy, 79-degree heat and was limping between points at the end.
"I'm not saying I was going to win, but if I'd won the first set, it would have made life easier," Hewitt said.
Later, 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro, the No. 7 seed, defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (9).
Playing later Sunday were No. 3 Maria Sharapova, who has a night match against No. 19 Nadia Petrova, and 18-year-old Laura Robson of Britain, who was scheduled to play defending champion Samantha Stosur.