Novak Djokovic breezed into the US Open final with a dominant 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) triumph over American upstart Ben Shelton.
Shelton, making his first-ever appearance in a Grand Slam semifinal, came out with great enthusiasm but struggled to mount a serious challenge against the consistently impressive Djokovic.
Throughout the match, the world No. 2 showcased his absolute best, maintaining control over the proceedings from beginning to end.
Following the win, Djokovic expressed his enthusiasm during an on-court interview, stating, “These are the types of matches and moments that continue to motivate and inspire me every day to work as hard as the young players. Grand Slams are what motivate me the most to showcase my finest tennis.”
Djokovic made his initial breakthrough in the sixth game of the match and never looked back, securing the first set 6-3 after surging to a 4-2 lead.
This momentum carried into the second set, where Djokovic dominated to capture it 6-2, taking a firm grip on the match within Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Falling behind two sets against Djokovic is a situation no tennis player desires, yet Shelton, despite the odds, demonstrated commendable determination in the final set.
Ranked 47th globally, Shelton put up a fierce fight, making it challenging for Djokovic to advance to the final. In a surprising turn of events, he even managed to break Djokovic’s serve twice in the final frame, forcing a tiebreak.
Ultimately, Djokovic clinched the third set in a tiebreak and celebrated by mimicking Shelton’s signature victory celebration, imitating holding a phone to his ear and then hanging it up.
With this victory, Djokovic extended his impressive record to 30-1 against players competing in their home Slam tournaments, thereby eliminating the crowd-favorite Shelton.
Djokovic reflected on the challenge of facing an American opponent, saying, “I knew prior to the quarterfinals that I would face an American player, and that’s never easy. Controlling the nerves and maintaining composure in crucial moments is key.”
“At times, it got quite competitive, and it was anybody’s game in the third set. This is the type of atmosphere we all relish playing in, so I am extremely pleased with today’s win,” Djokovic added.
At the age of 20, Shelton is likely to have numerous opportunities to make a significant impact in future tournaments, as demonstrated by his performance at this year’s US Open.
For Djokovic, this marks his historic 10th appearance in the US Open final, as he seeks his fourth title at Flushing Meadows in Sunday’s championship match.
Moreover, he has the chance to match Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. The 36-year-old will face the winner of the semifinal clash between Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev, scheduled for later on Friday, in the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.