Novak Djoković celebrates his quarter-final victory at the US Open
Photo: Seth Wenig / AP
Novak Djoković reached the semifinals of the US Open in an exhausting match. In extreme external conditions, the Grand Slam record champion defeated American Taylor Fritz 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. Djoković has reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam in tennis for the 47th time, once more than Roger Federer - a new record. The 36-year-old is in the round of the last four for the 13th time in Flushing Meadows, winning the tournament three times, most recently in 2018.
"It was very humid. It was very difficult to play. It wasn't easy," said Djoković. The match, which lasted 2:34 hours, was a sweaty affair. At temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius and a humidity of 50 percent, Djoković stuck the shirt to his body after just a few games in the first set.
"It's like tennis in the sauna," said Boris Becker at sportdeutschland.tv, "Djoković is physically at the limit," Becker continued in the second set. Those responsible have already reacted to the high temperatures and announced that they will partially close the roof. In this way, a little more shade should be created.
The conditions also did not contribute to the level of the match: both players acted very erroneously. Djoković, however, managed to manage his forces well, to wait for his chances to break and to use them with great efficiency. On the other hand, Fritz, who had made it to the quarterfinals for the first time in one of the four Grand Slams without losing a set, missed too many chances, especially in the third set, to be able to turn the match around.
Djoković now against young star Shelton
In the semifinals, Djoković now meets US hope Ben Shelton, who defeated his compatriot Frances Tiafoe 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-2. The 20-year-old converted the second match point after 3:07 hours.
Earlier, Shelton and Tiafoe had emphasized the special importance of the first quarterfinal of two African-American men at a Grand Slam tournament in the professional era. "It's a big night for many reasons, obviously two Americans, two African-Americans. I think it's a big night for people of color who look up to me and Ben and know they can be in that position as well," Tiafoe said.
Shelton is now in the round of the top four at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career. He is the big outsider against the Serb Djoković, who is 16 years older. "When his serve comes, it's very difficult to play against him, especially because he's left-handed," Djoković said.
Gauff demonstrates strength, but doesn't want to talk about titles
Previously, co-favorite Coco Gauff had made it to the women's semi-finals – with a demonstration of power. The 19-year-old defeated Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia 6-0, 6-2, and after only 67 minutes she used her third match point in what was a very one-sided encounter for a long time. "It feels very good," said the American about only her second semi-final at a Grand Slam after the French Open 2022.
In the next round, the French Open finalist Karolina Muchova is waiting, who praised her upcoming opponent in the highest tones. Gauff is "very athletic," said the Czech, who beat Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-0, 6-3 in the quarterfinals: "She never gives up, she runs for every ball, doesn't make many mistakes."
Gauff, meanwhile, still did not want to think about the title. "There's still a long way to go."
Zverev vs. Alcarez in night session
Alexander Zverev wants to make his third semi-final appearance at the US Open in a row perfect on Wednesday (local time) in a duel with defending champion Carlos Alcaraz from Spain. The quarter-finals were again scheduled late in the evening in the so-called night session.
The match starts after the clash between Marketa Vondrousova from the Czech Republic and the American Madison Keys, which starts at 19 p.m. New York time. Zverev plays German time on Thursday night.