Misc Tennis

Novak Djokovic returns to US Open final eyeing 24th Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic returns to US Open final eyeing 24th Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic limited big-serving Ben Shelton to five aces and broke him five times in their US Open semifinal Friday. Djokovic pushed back when the 20-year-old unseeded American produced a late stand that got the home crowd into the match.

After overcoming what he called “a little black hole” caused by tension to right himself, finish off a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory and reach his record-tying 10th final at Flushing Meadows and 36th at all major tournaments, Djokovic added a touch of insult to injury by mimicking Shelton’s “Hang up the phone!” celebration gesture.

Djokovic then pointed to his temple and pounded his fist on his chest before a stone-faced Shelton met him at the net for the most perfunctory of handshakes.

A year after Djokovic could not travel to the United States because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19, the 36-year-old from Serbia is one victory away from a fourth title in New York and 24th Grand Slam championship overall.

“Well, fact is that, at 36, every Grand Slam final … could be the last one. So I think that I probably value these occasions and opportunities to win another Slam more than I have maybe 10 years ago,” said Djokovic, who would be the oldest man to win the US Open in the professional era, which began in 1968. “I don’t know how many I have ahead of me now.”

For the third time in his career, Djokovic has made it to the finals of all four majors this season, with victories at the Australian Open in January and French Open in June. His 10th US Open final appearance ties Bill Tilden for the most by a man in tournament history.

On Sunday, Djokovic will face 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, who advanced by eliminating defending champ Carlos Alcaraz 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the second semifinal Friday night. The No. 3-seeded Medvedev, a 27-year-old from Russia, denied Djokovic a calendar-year Grand Slam by beating him in the final at Flushing Meadows two years ago.

“The challenge is that you play a guy that won 23 Grand Slams, and I have only one,” Medvedev said, looking ahead to taking on Djokovic. “When I beat him here, I managed to play better than myself, so I need to do it again. There is no other way.”

If Djokovic does end up leaving with the hardware this time, he would break a tie with Serena Williams for the most major singles championships in the Open era and match Margaret Court’s all-time singles record.

“It’s another shot for history,” said Djokovic, who was seeded No. 2 at the US Open…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at www.espn.com – TENNIS…