As the US Open 2021 draws to a close, the spotlight has completely shifted in the direction of Novak Djokovic. Three wins separate the world number 1 from a legendary feat, which would allow him to become the second player in the Open Era to achieve the Grand Slam.
The Serbian champion has won the first three Majors of the season and can truly fulfill a dream, but he will have to watch out for the last obstacles along his path. The first responds to the name of Matteo Berrettini, already beaten this year both at Roland Garros and in the Wimbledon final.
Nole defeated the Italian player in four sets to reach the semifinal. Now, his closest rivals his Alexander Zverev in the semifinal and, maybe, if Djokovic should win against the German, maybe Daniil Medvedev in the final.
Both the German and the Russian have looked in great shape over the past month, as well as winning the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati and Toronto before arriving in New York. Sascha inflicted on Nole the most painful defeat of this 2021, having placed a screaming comeback in the semifinal of the Tokyo Olympics.
In a recent interview for the US Open website, Juan Martin del Potro expressed a number of interesting thoughts on the decisive rounds of the New York Slam. Recall that Zverev has never beaten a Top 5 in a Grand Slam tournament.
Del Potro said: "Well, I think Alexander Zverev is in the ideal physical and psychological condition to be able to win the title, there is no doubt about it. At the same time, I think he will feel a lot of pressure from never having won a Grand Slam.
I don't know what could happen in a possible match with Novak Djokovic. Sascha has all the credentials to go all the way and is a very intelligent player, but he has always lacked some details to be able to win the majors.
I wouldn't be so sure if he can repeat the feat against Djokovic, as the Olympics are another type of event."
US Open 2021: Djokovic and Zverev in semifinal!
The dream of Italian number one Matteo Berrettini, in the quarterfinals of the US Open 2021, lasts only one set, collapsing in front of a Serbian world no.1 Novak Djokovic, in Grand Slam format in four sets.
However, Matteo's Grand Slam journey ends with a great season and, given his retirement in Australia, he only lost to Novak Djokovic in the Majors this year. In the first set both players have several break points but Matteo is good at exploiting one of the few opportunities available and taking the decisive break in the eleventh game.
He finishes 7-5 but from that moment Nole becomes almost unplayable making few mistakes and growing a lot in response. Second and third sets are almost identical with the Balkan champion who has break points in almost every service of the blue and closes the two partials with two very clear 6-2; 6-2.
The fourth set sees Berrettini try in vain with Djokovic who immediately makes the break, goes 3-0 and the result now seems to be written. In just under three and a half hours he ends with the result of 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-3. Against Djokovic in the semifinals there will be an Alexander Zverev in great shape and back from sixteen consecutive victories.
The South African Harris lasts only one set but wastes several chances to win it: first he goes to 5-3, wasting the advantage service and then he sees a set point canceled in the tiebreak of the first set. The other two sets see a growing Sascha close without particular difficulties and win with the result of 7-6 6-3 6-4.
It was the most anticipated semi-final in Flushing Meadows and there will be! In the women's singles, the story of the eighteen-yeasr-old British player Emma Raducanu continues: the athlete (she will be 19 only in November) who arrived from the qualifications, also beats the Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic: she is the first in the history of the WTA Tour to reach the semifinals starting from so far.
After a bad start, the young and talented Briton has the strength to overturn the first set and close the set. In the second there is little history with a challenge that seems one-sided and Emma who is ready to make an entire country dream, in recent years very poor in tennis.
On the other hand, in the semifinals she will face the Greek Sakkari, good and authoritative in the double 6-4 against Karolina Pliskova.