Top favorite Novak Djokovic has reached the final at the US Open for the tenth time and can hope for his 24th Grand Slam title. The 36-year-old Serb won the semifinals against Ben Shelton, 16 years his junior, on Friday 6:3, 6:2, 7:6 (7:4) and ended the title hopes of the second American in a row after defeating Taylor Fritz.
Djokovic can win his fourth US Open title on Sunday and become the oldest New York champion in the history of professional tennis. He will face either defending champion Carlos Alcaraz from Spain or Russian Daniil Medvedev.
After match point, Djokovic imitated Shelton's typical celebration. He held his right hand to his ear with his thumb and little finger apart and then hung up the imaginary phone. Many spectators booed because of this. "These are the matches in environments that inspire me to wake up every day and work as hard as the boys," Djokovic said. "Another Grand Slam final - I couldn't be happier."
Shelton with too many easy mistakes
In his 100th US Open match, Djokovic successfully countered the young US star's aggressive style of play and made use of his experience. Although Shelton managed to score spectacular points, he made too many easy mistakes.
In addition, Djokovic had the right answer in the decisive phases, even if he weakened at times towards the end of the third round. He conceded two breaks, had to fend off a set point from Shelton and still kept his nerve in the tie-break. After 2:40 hours, Djokovic converted his second match point.
In the final he has the chance to extend his title record for men's tennis and also draw level with Australian Margaret Court, who has the most Grand Slam triumphs among women. For Djokovic it is his 36th final at a major, which puts him well ahead of Roger Federer (31st) in the men's category.