Novak Djokovic beats Matteo Berrettini to remain on course for Grand Slam
New York – Novak Djokovic moved within two matches after completing his first men’s Grand Slam in a calendar year in 52 years by rallying to beat Italian Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals of the US Open on Wednesday.
Top-ranked Djokovic extended his Grand Slam winning streak to 26 games when sixth seed Berrettini 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Wimbledon final rematch in July.
“I think it was a great performance overall,” said Djokovic, calling his final three sets “the best three sets I’ve played in the tournament.”
He has booked a semi-final date for Friday with Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, who beat Djokovic in the semi-final in Tokyo.
“He’s in terrible form,” said Djokovic. “He won a lot. He is one of the best players in the world right now and I am very excited. The bigger the challenge, the more glory there is to overcome.”
Djokovic is trying to become the first man to win all four major titles in the same year since Rod Laver in 1969, but is not yet ready to think about the glory of that challenge.
“Just focus on the next game,” he said. “Don’t ask me about history. I’m just thinking about the next game. Step one.”
The 34-year-old Serbian is also seeking a fourth US Open title and 21st Grand Slam title, which will break the men’s record he currently shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both of whom are absent due to injury. love.
German fourth seed Zverev, last year’s US Open runner-up, reached his fourth Grand Slam semi-final, knocking out South Africa’s Lloyd Harris 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 6 -4.
Zverev turned down Djokovic’s offer for a “Golden Slam,” a grand slam of all four majors along with an Olympic gold medal, but Djokovic led their all-time rival by 6. -3.
“He is the best player in the world,” said Zverev. “He is very hard to beat. I was the first player to beat him in a very big game this year. That gives you something. “
Zverev is on a 16-game winning streak, including a title last month in Cincinnati. Djokovic did not compete between the Olympics and the US Open.
Djokovic improves to 4-0 against Berrettini, who is trying to reach a third Grand Slam semi-final.
Berrettini secured the first break with the forehand winner to take a 6-5 lead, then squandered three set points before Djokovic hit a backhand to surrender the tense first set after 77 minutes.
After dropping the opening set for the third straight game, Djokovic took a 3-1 lead in the second as Berrettini hit a long backhand, as the powerful Italian struggled to cope with dexterity. comprehensive dexterity in Djokovic’s game.
Berrettini hit his backhand to surrender the break in the second set and Djokovic broke serve again in the second game of the third and again in the final game to win the set.
A forehand pass to break gave Djokovic a 2-0 lead in the fourth set and from there he won in 3 hours 27 minutes.
“It was a great match, a lot of energy on the court,” said Djokovic.
“When I lost the first set, I tried to forget it, move on, live in time. I was cornered, locked in from the beginning of the second set and was able to raise the bar.”
Zverev was dropped in the opening game before Harris hit two forehands first and Zverev beat a serve winner to take the first set.
“He served amazingly, especially in the first set,” Zverev said. “Somehow I was able to win that tiebreak and that put me at ease.
“I’m really happy to have passed three.”
Zverev broke Harris to a 2-0 lead in the second set and was held to serve from there. In the third game, Zverev broke Harris in the first and third games and won after two hours and six minutes with the 21st ace of the match.
“The level is not quite where it should be,” Harris said. “A bit disappointed in that regard. However, there is still a lot of positive things to do during the week. “
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