Novak Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-3 and move into the U.S. Open semi-finals on Wednesday

 

Novak Djokovic inched a little closer to history he is now just two wins shy of completing the calendar-year Grand Slam, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in men’s tennis in more than half a century. Australian Rod Laver was the last man to sweep all four majors Grand Slam in a single season (1969).

Djokovic increased his Grand Slam winning streak to 26 matches and he remains unbeaten in the US Open quarterfinals. He also closed in on what would be a record-setting 21st major title, snapping the 20-20-20 deadlock with career-long rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Serbian’s match does not get any easier, though, as his semi-final opponent is Alexander Zverev, the man who denied him a shot at the golden slam by beating him at the Olympics.

Schedule of Play

“He’s in a fantastic form,” said Djokovic. “Of course looking at his results in the past few years, he’s played very well here on this court.

“I know it’s going to be battle, even harder than it was today but I’m ready for it.

“Look, these are the hurdles that I need to overcome in order to get to the desired destination.”

Djokovic and Berrettini had met only three times previously but two held in this year when the stakes were at their highest  the Wimbledon final and French Open quarters with the world number one winning both times in 4 sets.

The 25-year-old Italian had a third shot at deflecting Djokovic’s Grand Slam plans on Wednesday but once again could not seize his chance, converting just one of five break opportunities, that coming in the first set.

Djokovic said on the court: “He’s in tremendous form, he’s been winning a lot. He has comfortably moved to the semi-finals here.

“I know his game well, we played in Tokyo. He’s one of the best players in the world, but the bigger the challenge the more glory in overcoming it.

“This was a great match, with a lot of energy on and off the court. Matteo is a terrific player and every time we face each other it’s a close battle.

“When I lost the first set I managed to forget about it and move on. I was locked in at the start of the second and it was the best three sets I’ve played so far.”

It was a 26th consecutive victory at a major for Djokovic and came on the 52nd anniversary of Rod Laver becoming the last man to win all four grand slam events in the same year.

But it was far from plain sailing in a brutal 77-minute first set in which both players put each other’s serve under intense scrutiny.

Berrettini made the breakthrough for 6-5 with a sweeping cross-court forehand and although the Italian squandered three set points, an ace and a wide Djokovic forehand eventually proved decisive.

However, once Djokovic drew first blood in the second and made just three unforced errors to confidently level the match, Berrettini looked beaten and the result was no longer in doubt.
Fourth seed Zverev was a comfortable 7-6 (6) 6-3 6-4 winner against South African surprise package Lloyd Harris.

The German will go into the last-four showdown buoyed by his semi-final win over the 20-time grand slam champion in Tokyo.

“I mean, it’s the biggest tournament in the world. It’s the Olympics,” he said.

“Winning there against the world number one, especially as I was down a set and a break, being kind of out of the match, then coming back, it was different than the other matches. The emotions were different.

“This year it seems like nobody can beat him in a big match, nobody can beat him at the grand slams.

“I feel like I was the first player to beat him in a very big match this year. That does give you something.”

Also Read:- US Open: Daniil Medvedev beats Botic van de Zandschulp to reach men’s singles semi-finals

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