Novak Djokovic aims for his 24th Grand Slam as he advances to the US Open final
In their US Open semifinal clash, Novak Djokovic effectively contained the powerful serve of Ben Shelton, allowing only five aces while breaking Shelton's serve five times. Djokovic faced a spirited comeback from the 20-year-old unseeded American, which energized the home crowd.
Overcoming a momentary struggle with tension, Djokovic secured a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory, reaching his record-tying 10th final at Flushing Meadows and his 36th final at all major tournaments. Djokovic playfully imitated Shelton's "Hang up the phone!" celebration gesture after sealing the victory. However, the exchange at the net was a perfunctory handshake as Djokovic advanced to his fourth title match in New York and sought his 24th Grand Slam championship.
Djokovic, at 36 years old, acknowledged the value of these opportunities to win another Grand Slam, realizing that, at his age, each final could potentially be his last. He contemplated the uncertainty of how many more chances lay ahead of him.
For the third time in his career, Djokovic reached the finals of all four major tournaments in a single season, having already won the Australian Open and the French Open earlier in the year. His 10th US Open final appearance tied Bill Tilden for the most by a man in tournament history.
In the upcoming final, Djokovic would face the 2021 US Open champion, Daniil Medvedev, who defeated defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in the other semifinal. Medvedev acknowledged the challenge of facing Djokovic, a 23-time Grand Slam winner, emphasizing the need to perform at his best.
If Djokovic secures victory this time, he would break Serena Williams' tie for the most major singles championships in the Open era and match Margaret Court's all-time singles record.
Despite the initial mismatch in experience, Shelton's spirited play, unique celebrations, and late surge in the third set made the match engaging. Djokovic, however, maintained composure and secured the win, cementing his status as one of the all-time greats in tennis.
The match took place under a closed retractable roof due to rain in the forecast, creating an intense atmosphere in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Security was heightened after climate protesters disrupted a previous match.
Ben Shelton, known for his powerful serves and enthusiastic celebrations, showcased his aggressive style of play against Djokovic. While he showed moments of brilliance, Djokovic's experience and consistent performance ultimately prevailed.
In the end, Djokovic's relentless determination and exceptional skills on the court allowed him to secure a hard-fought victory, setting the stage for a historic final as he pursued his 24th Grand Slam title.