(New York-Flushing Meadows) – Second seed Novak Djokovic achieves his 36th Grand Slam final by outlasting American Ben Shelton at the US Open semifinals; he will either play defending champion Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final.
Contesting his 100th singles match at the US Open, 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic notches a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) victory over Ben Shelton, the youngest American man to advance to the major’s semifinals since 1992, after two hours and 40 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday afternoon.
On a level of his own, the Serbian player progresses to his 10th US Open final, showcasing exceptional consistency in his performance.
In his on-court interview, the 36-year-old commented: “These are the kinds of matches and occasions that I still thrive on and get me going and inspire me every day to try and work as hard as the young guys.”
Adding: “The Grand Slams are the ones that motivate me the most to play my best tennis, perform my best tennis. Today, things were going really smoothly for me, and then he broke back, and it was anyone game at the end of the third set.”
“This is the kind of atmosphere we all like to play in, so I am really, really pleased with this win today.”
The players set off proceedings at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, battling for a place at the 2023 US Open final.
Appearing in his fifth Grand Slam tournament and his first career tour-level singles semifinal, Shelton made a solid start to the opener, but so did the three-time champion in New York, who converted his first break point in the sixth game and held to take a 5-2 advantage.
He would close out a straightforward first-set win 6-3 in 34 minutes, winning 89 percent of the first-serve points.
Untroubled by his adversary, the Belgrade-born broke twice to nail a 6-2 victory in 44 minutes, winning 100 percent of his net approaches.
For his part, the young American committed twice as many unforced errors as his rival, 12 to 6, respectively.
Djokovic broke to open the third set and held 2-0, albeit a late challenge by the 20-year-old from Atlanta would spice up play, forcing the World No. 2 to drop serve for the first time in the eighth game.
The unseeded player found a way to lead the third set into a tiebreak, which Djokovic took, reaching the final at all four major finals in the season for the third time in his career.
He finished with 28 winners to 25 unforced errors compared to Shelton’s 30 and 48.
The Road to the Final
On Tuesday, Goran Ivanisevic’s pupil overcame ninth seed Taylor Fritz in straight sets to achieve his 47th Slam semifinal, setting a meeting with Shelton.
Previously, the 95-time ATP titlist took down Croatian qualifier Borna Gojo 6-2, 7-5, 6-4, securing his place in the quarterfinal in his 17th tournament appearance, the first in two years.
A week ago, he rallied to beat countryman Laslo Djere in their third-rounder, coming back from two sets down for the eighth time in his career to earn a dramatic 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win past 1 a.m.
In the first two rounds, Djokovic moved past Frenchman Alexandre Muller and Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles in straight sets.