Novak Djokovic’s right elbow has been treated by a trainer in the third set of an otherwise matter-of-fact 6-2 6-1 6-4 victory over Kyle Edmund at the US Open.
The win puts the defending champion into the quarterfinals for the 10th consecutive year.
Djokovic was finally forced to play a full match on Sunday after competing for a total of 31 minutes over the preceding five days because of injuries to opponents.
“Obviously I haven’t played too much tennis. I’m really glad to be back,” he said.
“I thought I came out, really, from the blocks very good, playing with a high intensity.”
But while Djokovic looked good for the first two sets against the 84th-ranked Edmund, and again at the very end, there was that interlude that included the medical visit.
It came right after he was broken for the first time and was part of a stretch of three games in a row for Edmund.
Djokovic also had his right arm worked on during his first-round win but got a chance to let that arm sit idle with a walkover in the second round and an early retirement in the third.
After 75 minutes against Edmund, Djokovic was ahead by two sets and a break.
He produced various bits of magic along the way: a jumping, head-fake drop shot at an impossible angle; a stretching angled cross-court backhand pass that drew an errant volley; a body-contorting defence-to-offense forehand that drew a roar from spectators.
“I made Kyle work for each point,” said Djokovic, whose quarterfinal opponent is No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the man he beat in the 2008 Australian Open final for the first of his 12 major championships.