US Open 2021: Novak Djokovic edges closer to calendar Grand Slam after winning epic semifinal
Novak Djokovic is one win away from being the third man to clinch the calendar Grand Slam after a stunning five-set semifinal victory over Alexander Zverev at the U.S Open.
Djokovic outlasted Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to book a spot in the final against Daniil Medvedev on Sunday, and if he wins again, he will join Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962, 1969) as the only men to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single calendar year.
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Victory against the Russian No. 2 seed will also see Djokovic win his 21st Grand Slam title, moving him one ahead of rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the tally.
The 34-year-old’s win over Zverev at Arthur Ashe Stadium was witnessed by Australian legend Laver, who was present in the crowd.
Speaking after the victory, Djokovic said he was aware of how close he was to the calendar Grand Slam, but he was simply focusing on getting the win against Medvedev.
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“I’m going for a fourth U.S. Open, that’s all I’m thinking about,” he said.
When asked by ESPN’s John McEnroe about the calendar Slam, he said: “It’s there, it’s there. I know people like to hear me talk about, but there’s not much to talk about.
“There’s only one more match exactly. All in, all in. Let’s do it. I’m going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one. I’m going to treat the next match like it is the last match of my career.”
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Djokovic now has a record of 27-0 in majors in 2021.
One of the highlights of the match was a 53-shot rally on a set point in the third. Zverev won the point with a forehand winner to keep the set going, but Djokovic won the game and set right after.
The Associated Press reported it was the longest rally of the tournament to date.
Tom Gatto contributed to this report.
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