With pleasant temperatures at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday afternoon – the roof was closed due to rain – 20-year-old American shooting star Ben Shelton saw a bit of sunshine against veteran Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic said of his win: “These are the matches that I still enjoy the most, they tickle me, inspire me and make me get up in the morning to exercise. I try to work hard like young people.”
In his 100th US Open singles match, Djokovic rarely had to contend with the world-class power of Shelton, who came closer than ever to the first victory by an American since Andy Roddick in 2003.
Shelton only tied the third set
Both professionals faced each other for the first time – and Djokovic set the stage for victory from the start in a duel with the youngest player from the United States to reach the semi-finals since Michael Chang in 1992.
In the first set, the 36-year-old managed breaks to 4:2, and in the second, to 3:2 and 5:2. Chilton served at a speed of 233.35 km/h, but he also made a lot of mistakes. “It’s an important element to be able to mentally overcome pressure. It’s very easy to read,” tennis legend Boris Becker said into the Sportdeutschland.TV microphone.
In the third round, the favorite also took a quick 4:2 lead before Shilton secured his first serve with only the second ball (4:4) and shortly afterwards at 5:4 he even earned a set point as the returning player. However, Djokovic countered this with a strong first serve and then broke the American to 6:5.
As he served for the match, Djokovic’s hand shook slightly – Shelton forced him into a tiebreak after another drop of serve. 2:41 hours later, Joker converted his second match point to reach the final, ending the Americans’ hope of a first home win in 20 years.
Djokovic “steals” Shelton’s celebration gesture
Djokovic had already defeated a local champion in the previous round, Taylor Fritz (No. 9), and Shelton also beat two other Americans, Tommy Ball (No. 14) and Tiafoe (No. 10).
With his success against Shilton, Djokovic raised his record against domestic players in Grand Slams to 30:1 – only in the 2013 Wimbledon final did he lose to Briton Andy Murray (4:6, 5:7, 4:6).
Djokovic has his nerves under control
Djokovic said, “Playing against an American here is not easy at all. You always have to stay with yourself and keep your nerves under control. At the end of the third set, the court was completely open and very noisy.” Very happy with this win today.”
The Russian ruined the Grand Slam for Djokovic two years ago, meaning he won all four major tournaments within one year. Overall, the Serbian has a 9:5 winning record over Medvedev.
Djokovic has reached his 36th Grand Slam final with 36
“Discipline, willpower and clarity about what you want to achieve in the short and long term” got him this far, Djokovic said. “I’m lucky that I’ve been able to play this sport successfully for a long time. But I still have the feeling that I still have something in my legs and I can still give something to this sport.”
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