Djokovic Rallies, Sets SF Zverev Showdown Friday At US Open
by Staff | September 9th, 2021, 1:24 am

The Top 3 favorites all reached the US Open semifinals. On Tuesday, Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime booked a Friday date, and today it was Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev filling the last two slots.

Djokovic had to overcome another opening set loss before pulling away from Matteo Berrettini 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to reach his 12th US Open semifinal, and more importantly move to within two wins of the Calendar Grand Slam.

“It was a great match. A lot of energy on the court, off the court as well,” Djokovic told the crowd. “Every time we face each other it’s a close battle.

“When I lost the first set I managed to forget about it and move on, kind of be in the moment and I think I was locked in from the beginning of the second set. I took my tennis to a different level. It was the best three sets of tennis I’ve played so far in the tournament for sure.”

Berrettini, who lost to Djokovic at Wimbledon and the French, came out belting the ball once again. With games going multiple deuces, it was dead-even at 5-all after an hour. But Berrettini finally broke and closed out a grueling first set.

The Italian left the court and upon returning, he saw a different, more focused Djokovic. The World No. 1 quickly broke to gain momentum and then all but dominated the sputtering Berrettini.

It was the third time already in the event the Serb dropped the opener only to rebound impressively. And he called it afterward the best three sets he’s played in New York.

Djokovic is now 26-0 in Slams this year and is just six sets from history. But to get there, he will have to go through his two biggest threats in the draw: a red-hot Zverev on Friday and then possibly Medvedev on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Zverev took care of Lloyd Harris coming from a break down and later a set point down in the first to oust the South African 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4 in just over two hours.

“I think the match was a little bit strange,” Zverev said. “I think the first set he played very well, didn’t give me a lot of chance on his serve. Yeah, I mean, after that I started to play much better. I think the turning point was the first set, I think that I won it, and it did kind of go my way after that.”

Zverev blunted the power Harris’s serve while the German kicked in 21 aces to just five doubles faults.

Zverev has now won his last 16 matches as he goes into his second straight US Open semifinal full of confidence and playing much better than he did a year ago when he came within two points of the final.

“Against (Djokovic) you prepare that you have to play the best match that you can,” Zverev said. “You have to be perfect, otherwise you will not win.

“I mean, most of the time you can’t be perfect. That’s why most of the time people lose to him. Against him, you have to win the match yourself. You have to be the one that is dominating the points. You have to do it with very little unforced errors.

“He is the best player in the world. He is very difficult to beat. But he’s still also got to win tonight. He’s playing Matteo Berrettini who is in very good form, finals of Wimbledon. I think he’s looking forward to that match, as well. It’s going to be an interesting match to watch those two.”

Djokovic has won six of nine meetings but had his five match win streak over the German snapped at the Olympics last month. In that match, though, Djokovic did lead by a set and a break.

“He’s in tremendous form, he’s been winning a lot,” Djokovic said of Zverev. “After Wimbledon I don’t think he’s lost a match. Winning gold in the Olympics, winning in Cincinnati pretty comfortably.

“He’s one of the best players in the world and I’m pumped. The bigger the challenge the more glory in overcoming it.”

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2 Comments for Djokovic Rallies, Sets SF Zverev Showdown Friday At US Open

Tennis Vagabond Says:

If there’s one thing we learned on the tour this year, its that Novak can beat Berrettinni at a slam.

The only shame is that he won’t get the CYBGS. But maybe in Australia he can get the NBGS.

David Hicks Says:

Tennis Vagabond,

Do you honestly think that Zverev and/or Medvedev are better than Djoker at this stage of his career- or are you just pulling against Djoker making history that Fed and Nadal weren’t able to accomplish yet in their careers?

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