Here he is on his way to the records. World number 1 Novak Djokovic qualified for the US Open final on Friday September 10 by beating Germany’s Alexander Zverev (4e) – 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. He will face, on Sunday, in New York, Russian Daniil Medvedev (2e).
At 34, the Serbian will try to succeed, Sunday, a Grand Slam over the historic year, which would also bring to 21 the record for major titles won by a player, thus surpassing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“These are the times we live for. These are the kind of unique opportunities we dream of when we are looking for motivation. I’m going to play the next game as if it was the last of my career ”, reacted the Serbian.
This performance, now within reach of a racket, has not been successful since Australian Rod Laver in 1969. Now 83, he was present in the stands of Arthur Ashe court to see Novak Djokovic follow in his footsteps.
The oldest US Open finalist
In the meantime, Djokovic has already tied another record, owned by Roger Federer, by reaching his 31e Grand Slam final. He also became the oldest US Open finalist since Andre Agassi, 35 in 2005, before perhaps becoming the oldest winner since Ken Rosewall, 35 in 1970.
On the eve of going up against Zverev, by far his biggest obstacle on the road to the final, the Serb expected to “A tough battle”. He had warned that he would be “Ready to face him five sets, five hours, whatever it takes”, ensuring to be the best in such matches. He proved it, even though the fight only lasted 3:33.
After the loss of the first set, during which two or three exchanges of great intensity set the tone for the match, Djokovic reacted in the following two. As in the previous laps where he also had to recover this handicap.
The German, led in his turn two races to one, was not taken aback, certainly remembering the scenario of the semi-final at the Tokyo Olympics, where he had reversed the situation against Djokovic, opening the way to a gold medal. And he managed to tie two sets everywhere.
But in the next set, the world number 1 left his opponent helpless, soon led 5-0. Valorous, the German broke once but Djokovic did not let him hope for a moment. His victory earned him a long standing ovation from the public.
Earlier in the afternoon, Friday, Daniil Medvedev, world number 2, had qualified for his second US Open final, dismissing in three sets (6-4, 7-5, 6 -2) Félix Auger-Aliassime (15e).
The Russian player, who was beaten in 2019 at this stage by Rafael Nadal after an epic fight in five sets, will face, on Sunday, either the world number 1, the Serbian Novak Djokovic, or the German Alexander Zverev (4e). Djokovic is looking for a Grand Slam in the same season,
Semi-finalist last year, defeated by the Austrian Dominic Thiem, future winner of the tournament, Medvedev perfectly held his place against his young opponent of 21 years, of which it was the first foray into the last four of a tournament. of the Grand Slam.
“I didn’t play at my best today, but I’m happy to be in the final”, smiled Medvedev into the microphone on Arthur Ashe court. However, he managed to convert all the break points he got, that is to say five, certainly helped by an opponent guilty of too many unforced errors (39). He also multiplied aces (12) in the first set.
In the second set, Medvedev was broken at 4-1 with a double fault. Leading 5-2, Auger-Aliassime got two set points, erased by his opponent, who suddenly raised his level and let go of his shots.
The Russian was then irresistible, lining up five games in a row – including eleven consecutive points scored on the last three, again by breaking twice on the first shot.
In the third set, Auger-Aliassime, weighed down by too many double faults (10), gave up. Medvedev quickly flew away, ending it in just over two hours.
Glad to have saved himself in this way, the Muscovite is now waiting to know who of Novak Djokovic or Alexander Zverev will be his opponent on Sunday. “It’s always better to qualify first, then I’ll take the opportunity to rest while enjoying watching the other semi-final which is going to be a hell of a game. I suggest everyone to watch it ”, he concluded. We will know on Sunday what lessons he drew from it.