NOVAK DJOKOVIC moved to within one win of capturing his 24th major title on Friday when he defeated American Ben Shelton 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) to reach a record-equalling 10th US Open final, matching Bill Tilden’s mark.
He will clash with Daniil Medvedev, who won 7-6(3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in three hours 18 minutes against defending champion Carlos Alcaraz.
Playing his 100th match at the hard-court major, Djokovic, the three-time champion demonstrated why he is widely considered the best returner of all time. The Serbian showed great anticipation and hands to neutralise Shelton’s thunderous serve, clinching victory after two hours and 40 minutes against the 20-year-old, who was the youngest American to reach the last four since Michael Chang in 1992, a report in atptour.com said.
"These are the kinds of matches and occasions that I still thrive on and get me going and inspire me every day to try and work as hard as the young guys," Djokovic said. "The Grand Slams are the ones that motivate me the most to play my best tennis, perform my best tennis. I knew prior to the quarter-finals that I would play an American player and that is never easy. To control the nerves and be composed in the moments that matter. Today things were going really smoothly for me and then he broke back and it was anyones game at the end of the third set. This is the kind of atmosphere we all like to play in, so I am really, really pleased with this win today."
Djokovic, who broke Shelton five times, has now reached the final at all four majors in the same season for the third time in his career (2015, ’21). The 36-year-old also continued his quest to become the oldest man to win the US Open singles title in the Open Era (since 1968). Then-35-year-old Ken Rosewall triumphed in Flushing Meadows in 1970, the report said.
"Discipline is everything. I think it is a combination of discipline, will power and clarity of what you want to do," Djokovic said on reaching his 36th major final. "What your short and long-term goals are. I have been pleased to play this sport for many years and have achieved a lot. I still feel I have something in my legs left. I feel I still have a lot to give to the sport. Another Grand Slam final, I can't be happier."
Djokovic has won four titles in 2023, including major crowns at the Australian Open and Roland Garros. He will battle for a record-extending 24th Slam title on Sunday against Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic, who holds a 87-13 record at the US Open, lost to Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final, the report added.