Djokovic Advances to US Open Final with Historic Grand Slam in Sight


In their US Open semifinal match on Friday, Novak Djokovic broke big-serving Ben Shelton five times while limiting him to five aces. When the 20-year-old unseeded American made a last-second attempt to enliven the home crowd, Djokovic fought back.

To add insult to injury, Djokovic imitated the young boy’s “Hang up the phone!” celebration gesture after overcoming what he described as “a little black hole” brought on by stress to finish off a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory and reach his record-tying 10th final at Flushing Meadows and 36th overall at major tournaments.

With victories at the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June, Djokovic has reached the finals of all four major tournaments this season for the third time in his career.

He shares the record for the most male appearances in US Open finals with Bill Tilden thanks to his tenth participation. Djokovic will take against 2021 US Open winner Daniil Medvedev on Sunday. Medvedev advanced after defeating Carlos Alcaraz, the defending champion, in the second semifinal on Friday night, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

The No. 3-seeded Medvedev, a 27-year-old Russian, defeated Djokovic in the final of the Flushing Meadows tournament two years ago, preventing him from completing a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Djokovic would break the tie with Serena Williams for the most major singles titles won during the Open era and tie Margaret Court’s all-time singles record if he were to win this time.

Read Also: Coco Gauff Advances to US Open Final Amidst Match Disruptions

High Security and Closed Roof

In their US Open semifinal match on Friday, Novak Djokovic broke big-serving Ben Shelton five times while limiting him to five aces

Before the match, Djokovic and Shelton appeared to be an unlikely matchup: Djokovic was playing in his record-tying 47th Slam semifinal and his 100th US Open match, while Shelton, ranked 47th, was playing in his maiden major semifinal and only his seventh Open match overall.

In Arthur Ashe Stadium, where there were more police officers and security guards a day after four climate protesters — including one man who glued his bare feet to the concrete in the stands — caused a 50-minute delay during Coco Gauff’s semifinal victory — the retractable roof was closed due to the forecasted rain, creating echoes for the soundtrack of yells and applause.

Early on, things changed as Shelton experienced a few lulls against the relentlessly intense Djokovic.

Shelton was down 4-2, thanks to a sloppy volley and a poor drop shot into the net here. To clean up, Djokovic walked calmly to a box of towels in a corner. It made sense: There had only been six games for twenty minutes.

But the final result never really seemed in doubt. Okay, so Shelton did have that brief moment of brilliance after falling behind 4-2 in the last set.

Yet in the end, Djokovic’s experience won out, along with his capacity for returning serves, grinding out points after points with his body-bending, sneaker-squeaking defense, and more.

Read Also: FIBA World Cup Semifinals: Team USA Falls Short Against Germany

Source: ABC News

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