- Djokovic overcomes heat to sweep aside determined Fritz
- Record 47th Slam semi for Serb
- Shelton to face Djokovic after victory over compatriot Tiafoe
Novak Djokovic has once again etched his name into the annals of tennis history, reaching an astounding 47th men’s Grand Slam semi-final with a commanding straight-set victory over Taylor Fritz at the US Open. The 36-year-old Serbian, often hailed as one of the greatest tennis players of all time is looking for his 24th Grand Slam title, and once again showed that he can dig in when it really matters.
Djokovic’s victory was not without its challenges. The sweltering heat and humidity of the New York summer posed a formidable opponent of its own. With the temperature soaring to 32°C, tournament organisers invoked the heat rule, partially closing the roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium to provide much-needed shade. However, Djokovic, a three-time US Open champion, remained unfazed.
Fritz, the 25-year-old American, displayed early promise, earning a break point in the opening game. He refused to be overwhelmed by the aura of Djokovic, breaking back in the third game of the match. Yet, Djokovic swiftly regained control, efficiently closing out the first set with four consecutive games.
The second set saw Djokovic maintain his composure under pressure, saving four break points and securing a 3-1 lead. Despite moments of apparent discomfort due to the harsh conditions, Djokovic continued to dominate. He lost just one point in his next three service games, demonstrating his unrivalled mental fortitude.
The third set proved to be a hard-fought battle. Fritz broke Djokovic to level the score at 4-4, sparking hope among the home crowd. However, Djokovic’s response was emblematic of his resilience. Fuelled by the frustration of the lost break, as well as an incident involving a spectator in the crowd, Djokovic promptly broke Fritz once more. Fritz, to his credit, kept pushing his formidable opponent and reached break point, but Djokovic clenched his second match point after two hours and 35 minutes on the court.
Djokovic chases Slam number 24 as more records tumble
This victory not only extended Djokovic’s incredible streak of 13 consecutive wins in US Open quarter-finals but also propelled him ahead of Federer for the most Grand Slam men’s semi-final appearances in history. Furthermore, it brought Djokovic, who already holds the men’s record for Grand Slam singles titles, tantalisingly close to equaling Margaret Court’s record of major singles triumphs, with just two wins standing between him and that milestone.
Shelton secures semi-final spot
As Djokovic marches on in his pursuit of Grand Slam history, he is set to face Ben Shelton in the semi-finals, a player who is experiencing his first taste of Grand Slam semi-final action. Shelton secured his place with a spirited victory over fellow American Frances Tiafoe, making him the youngest man in 31 years to reach the US Open semi-finals.
This win strengthens Djokovic’s position as favourite. His path to the final looks, on paper, easier than that of Carlos Alcaraz who faces 12th seed Alexander Zverev in his quarter-final. Should the Spaniard progress, he will be up against either third seed Daniil Medvedev or eighth seed Andrey Rublev, while Djokovic will play the unseeded Shelton. However, Shelton should not be underestimated, he is a young player in the form of his life and he will have the backing of the crowd as he bids to be the first American winner of this tournament since Andy Roddick. Although many feel that Alacaraz had the more difficult side of the draw, punters should note that the 20-year-old had spent less time on court than Djokovic prior to the start of the quarter-finals. At the time of writing bet365 have got Djokovic at 4/6 with Alcaraz second favourite at 7/4.