Medvedev Gets Revenge On Alcaraz, Djokovic Hangs Up Shelton In US Open SFs
After two blowout losses this year, Daniil Medvedev got back in the win column against Carlos Alcaraz Friday night in the US Open semifinals ending the Spaniard’s title defense with a strong 7-6(3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to reach his third final in New York.
“I said I needed to play 11 out of 10. I played 12 out of 10, except the third set,” Medvedev said. “That’s the only way. I don’t know if he’s still 20 or 21, but so young, already two Grand Slams, World No. 1 for many weeks. It’s honestly just pretty unbelievable and I think nobody has done it before him. To beat him, you need to be better than yourself and I managed to do it.”
The Russian bombed his serve and that set the tone early as Alcaraz continued to punish the deep standing Medvedev. But Medvedev began getting a better read on the Alcaraz serve. He saved a couple break points and snuck out a tight first set in the breaker, then broke early in the second.
Alcaraz wouldn’t recover from that body blow and for the first time in over a year went down two sets in a Slam.
Alcaraz would leave the court after the second and return a better, more energetic player. Medvedev lapsed give Alcaraz a break and it wouldn’t take long to to a fourth.
The two battled in an incredible six game with Alcaraz serving 2-3. Medvedev kept coming up with pass after pass as Alcaraz would in a dropshot/dropvolley frenzy. Eventually Medvedev would get the break and then somehow get out of jail serving for it at 5-3 saving three break points to win it.
“The third set was not so bad, I lost one serve,” Medvedev said. “I didn’t have a lot of opportunities on his serve, but I felt like I was not that far. So I was like, ‘I have to continue pushing. I have to do a little bit better on my serve.’ I saved some break points at 1-all. There was a very crucial, super-long game where I managed to do some amazing points to stay in the game and then he kind of — maybe we don’t see him do this often — he started to miss a little bit. Yeah, amazing.”
Medvedev put a halt to Alcaraz’s 12-match Slam win streak and 12-match US Open win streak. The 2021 champion has won 16 of his last 17 matches at the US Open, the biggest of which came in that final two years ago when he stunned Novak Djokovic. And he’ll get him against on Sunday.
Djokovic came out as the big favorite to topple new kid Ben Shelton and he did just that with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) win over the 20-year-old. He is now three sets from Court’s all-time mark of 24 Slams.
“The Grand Slams are the ones that motivate me the most to play my best tennis, perform my best tennis. I knew prior to the quarterfinals that I would play an American player and that is never easy,” Djokovic said. “To control the nerves and be composed in the moments that matter. Today things were going really smoothly for me and then he broke back and it was anyones 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.”
Djokovic cruised early crushing the American off the ground and holding with ease. Shelton wasn’t going full steam on his shots and Djokovic was never at risk.
But things changed late in the match. Djokovic would break for 4-2 in the third but shortly after out of nowhere Shelton would get the break back for 4-all. Suddenly, the lefty was awake and so too was the crowd who wanted more tennis.
At 4-5, Djokovic would save a set point and then break again for 6-5. But serving for it Djokovic came up short on a match point only to get broken. Djokovic would be the stronger player in the breaker and he closed it out to reach his 36th career Grand Slam final and 13th at the US Open. Djokovic actually finished with the same number of aces (5) as Shelton who never really got his serve going.
“It wasn’t easy to close this match out, but I’m really glad I did in three sets,” Djokovic said. “Didn’t want to take this match to a fourth set, that’s for sure. He’s got a lot of firepower, an amazing pop on the serve. He’s just so dynamic and very unpredictable. I just had to [make] him play, made him uncomfortable. Probably the best serving I have had so far in the tournament; it was important considering I was playing a big server today.”
After winning match point, Djokovic imitated Shelton’s phone-to-the-ear then hang-up routine. Shelton said he didn’t see it.
“And I just love Ben’s celebration,” Djokovic semi-joked. “I thought it was very original, and I copied him. I stole his celebration.”
Said Shelton: “As a kid growing up, I always learned that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so that’s all I have to say about that.”
Djokovic leads Medvedev 9-5 with that tough loss in New York in 2021.
“Daniil won against me in the final a couple of years ago. He has probably been the most consistent player at the US Open in the past five years,” Djokovic said.
Medvedev knows what he needs to do.
“The challenge is to play a guy who won 23 Grand Slams and I have only one,” Medvedev said. “When I beat him here, I managed to play better than myself and I need to do it again. There is no other way.”
You Might Like:
Novak Djokovic v Daniil Medvedev For The US Open Title, Who’s The Pick?
Djokovic v Shelton, Alcaraz v Medvedev; US Open SF Picks And Pans
Djokovic Flies Past Fritz At US Open, Sets Slam SF Record, Shelton Wins; Alcaraz v Zverev, Russians
Zverev Outlasts Sinner; Alcaraz, Medvedev Advance At US Open; Djokovic v Fritz QF
Djokovic, Alcaraz, Medvedev Lead Astana Field