Novak Djokovic was "playing for history" and suffered from nerves in his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev, according to previous champion Dominic Thiem, who backed the 34-year-old to return "stronger than ever" in 2022.

Medvedev prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slams in a single year, beating him 6-4 6-4 6-4 in Sunday's thrilling showpiece.

Djokovic was seen in tears during the third set as his hopes of adding the US Open to his run of wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year slipped away.

But Thiem tipped Djokovic to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat and return in 2022 even stronger.

"One unbelievable goal slipped out of his hands yesterday," Thiem told Stats Perform.

 

"I expect him to be as strong as ever in 2022. I think after he won in Roland Garros, everybody was only talking about the calendar slam – first about the golden slam, and then about the calendar slam.

"He [Djokovic] was under pressure. Nobody can feel that or anything like that because of it being the calendar slam.

"I can feel it in a smaller way, probably from last year's final and from some other matches. And at some points it's just getting to you. And so, I really felt for him as well towards the end of the match.

"So, it can happen that it also makes him even stronger next year when all these talks and all this pressure is not that big anymore."

Thiem, who missed the tournament with a wrist injury that will rule him out until 2022, believes nerves were a factor in Djokovic's defeat but agreed with Medvedev's assessment of the Serbian as the greatest of all time – though he could not set him apart from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"For me, there are three GOATs in the game, and each of them has achieved something very unique," Thiem said of the trio locked on 20 major titles each.

"So it's still the same for me as it was before. The three of them are the best in the history to me.

"And I'm only super happy to be in the same era with them and to be able to compete with them. Hopefully many more times next year again."

Despite all appearances as he ploughed through the draws at all four grand slams this year, world number one Novak Djokovic does have a breaking point. 

Djokovic hit it on Sunday, falling 6-4 6-4 6-4 to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final as the 20-time major champion finally proved unable to will himself out of an early hole. 

It was the fifth successive match in which Djokovic had dropped the opening set at Flushing Meadows, and the Serb superstar acknowledged afterward all of the energy he expended to get to the brink of the first men's calendar Grand Slam –since 1969 and a record 21st major title might finally have caught up with him. 

"Could be, could be [time spent on court a factor]. I had more hours on the court spent from Daniil, that's for sure," Djokovic said at his post-match news conference. "But was also emotionally very demanding period for me in the last five, six months. Slams and Olympics and playing at home in Belgrade.

"Everything was coming together for me here and kind of accumulating all the emotions that I've been through.

"Unfortunately I didn't make it in the final step. But when you draw a line, you have to be very satisfied with the year. Three wins, three slams and a final. For the last couple of years I've been very transparent and vocal about my goals, to play my best tennis at slams. I'm managing to do that.

"Of course, I was short today for another slam title, but I have to be proud with everything that my team and I have achieved. And in tennis we learn very quickly how to turn the next page.

"Very soon there are some more challenges, more things that are coming up. I have learned to overcome these kind of tough losses in the finals of slams, the ones that hurt the most."

This defeat sent a range of emotions surging through the emotional 34-year-old as he sat courtside while awaiting the trophy presentation. 

Asked what was going through his mind at that moment, Djokovic's initial answer was succinct. 

"Relief," he said. "I was glad it was over because the build up for this tournament and everything that mentally, emotionally I had to deal with throughout the tournament in the last couple of weeks was just a lot. It was a lot to handle.

"I was just glad that finally the run is over. At the same time I felt sadness, disappointment, and also gratitude for the crowd and for that special moment that they've created for me on the court."

Djokovic heaped praise on his opponent, saying he expects Medvedev to win more grand slams in the years ahead after the Russian broke through for his first.

That inevitably sparked thoughts of the coming generational change in the men's game, dominated for so long by Djokovic, Rafael Nadal (35) and Roger Federer (40).

With an astonishing 60 grand slam titles between them, their eventual departure from the stage will open up opportunities for Medvedev, Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev and other younger players. 

Djokovic insisted he is not quite done yet, but he does believe that transition already is in progress. 

"The older guys are still hanging on," he said. "We're still trying to shine the light on the tennis world as much as we possibly can.

"I'm speaking on my own behalf. I still want to keep going, try to win more slams, play for my country. Those are the things that motivate me the most I think at this point.

"But the new generation, if you want to call them this way, is not anyone new. It's already current, established. Of course, they are going to take over.

"I think tennis is in good hands because they're all nice guys and very, very good, high-quality tennis players. They got something to offer on and off the court.

"We are hoping that the transition will be smooth in terms of the attention and the popularity of this sport. It's very important.

"We all, of course, want to win on the court, but at the same time we all at the top represent this sport. We need to be aware of that, take this responsibility and try to bring more fans to the world of tennis.

"At the end of the day that's what counts and that's what keeps our sport alive."

In Tokyo, it had been Alexander Zverev who denied Novak Djokovic his Olympic dream in a competition partially defined by controversy over the searing heat. In stifling temperatures inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, the world number one saw his calendar Grand Slam hopes ended by a man often known for losing his cool.

Daniil Medvedev is among the most mercurial players on the ATP Tour. To watch Medvedev outwit his opponents when he is focused is one of the great joys of the modern game. When things go against him, though, his temper and his performance can unravel in a hurry.

To Djokovic's misfortune, in one of the biggest matches of his remarkable career, he came up against an inspired Medvedev enjoying obvious clarity of thought in a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win in the US Open final that means tennis' 'big three' remain locked on 20 grand slam titles apiece.

Medvedev is no stranger to heroics at tennis' largest stadium. Two years ago he enjoyed a rollercoaster journey in New York. Seeing red after being given a code violation for snatching a towel from a ballboy, Medvedev was mercilessly booed in a third-round match with Feliciano Lopez and openly goaded the fans thereafter in his on-court interview.

The booing continued in the subsequent round, but Medvedev's story that year was one of redemption, which ended with him receiving great credit for a remarkable near-comeback in a five-set epic final with Rafael Nadal.

Fast forward to a clash with another of the players firmly in the conversation for the best of all time and Medvedev sustained the levels he produced for two and a half sets against Nadal for three glorious sets as he ruthlessly took possession of a day that was supposed to belong to Djokovic.

Prior to the final, Djokovic had dropped the opening set in four of his previous matches at Flushing Meadows, winning three times in four sets and once in five.

As such, there was little reason not to expect a Djokovic comeback when Medvedev forged ahead in the showpiece.

However, in Medvedev, Djokovic found a foe completely unwilling to indulge his hopes of another recovery effort.

Coach Gilles Cervara labelled Medvedev a "genius" before the 2019 final and, when he plays as he did in clinching his first major title, it is tough to argue with that assessment.

As the elasticity of his movement enabled Medvedev to defend with an ease that belied the pressure of the occasion, Djokovic was simply unable to find a way through in the second set, which was decided with the artistry of the Russian's drop shot.

Djokovic could only hit into the tramlines having scurried in a desperate effort to meet such a shot, and that sense of desperation was evident when uncharacteristically poor play at the net from the Serbian gave Medvedev command in the third.

A pair of double faults played a role in Medvedev initially failing to serve out the match, the ice-cool focus escaping him for a brief moment, but there was to be no repeat when his second opportunity came as he finally clinched a maiden major on his third wedding anniversary.

So history denied. Not because of the heat, but because of a man keeping his cool in the face of the greatest challenge in the men's game and harnessing the genius that is now recognised by many more than just his coach. Extremely gracious in defeat, a potentially momentous day for Djokovic is now one he will want to forget. Instead, Medvedev and his wife have an anniversary to remember.

Novak Djokovic set aside the deep disappointment of missing out on the calendar Grand Slam by backing new US Open champion Daniil Medvedev to be a multiple major winner.

World number one and 20-time slam champion Djokovic had strung together a stunning run of wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and he was a red-hot favourite to complete the set in New York.

A clean sweep of all four slams in a year had not been achieved since Rod Laver won the lot in 1969, and the great Australian was in the crowd as history appeared to beckon on Sunday.

Medvedev had other ideas and swept to a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win in two hours, 16 minutes, collecting his first title at this level but perhaps the first of many.

The world number two was tipped by a number of experts, including former world number one Jim Courier, to take the Flushing Meadows glory, and he came good as a flagging Djokovic paid the price for taking a circuitous route to the final.

Top seed Djokovic dropped the opening set of each of his matches from the third round onwards, spending more than five hours more on court than Medvedev on the way through the draw.

Speaking at the trophy presentation, Djokovic said: "I'd like to start off by saying congratulations to Daniil. Amazing. Amazing match, amazing tournament. If there is anyone that deserves a grand slam title now, it's you, so well done.

"You're one of the greatest guys on the tour. We get along very well. I wish you many more grand slams, many more majors to follow. I'm sure you will be on this stage in the future again."

Djokovic had appeared to well up before the final game of the match, on what was an emotional day for the Serb superstar.

He had demolished a racket in the second set as his rage grew, but come the end of the match he was looking to be sanguine.

Rather than airing his certain sense of frustration at falling just short of such a rare feat as a calendar Grand Slam, Djokovic looked for the positives.

And there was one that stood out, with the man who has often felt unloved by tennis crowds expressing his joy at the New York spectators showing him plenty of affection.

They had turned out in the hope of witnessing a famous moment in sporting history, which may have partly explained their raucous rallying behind the 34-year-old.

"I was thinking in both scenarios, kind of visualising myself standing here in front of you guys and what would I say," Djokovic told the crowd.

"I would like to say tonight that even though I have not won the match my heart is filled with joy and I am the happiest man alive, because you guys helped me feel very special on the court.

"You guys touch my soul. I've never felt like this in New York, I've never felt like this. Thank you so much for your support, everything you have done tonight for me. I love you and I'll see you soon."

British tennis was on a super Saturday high at the US Open as Emma Raducanu took centre stage – after Joe Salisbury, Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett celebrated title success.

Salisbury completed a remarkable doubles double, adding the mixed title to the men's crown he secured on Friday, and Reid and Hewett teamed up to clinch a calendar Grand Slam in wheelchair men's doubles.

After Salisbury and American partner Rajeev Ram won the men's doubles title by beating Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, Salisbury returned on Saturday to land another title, the fourth major of his career.

Salisbury teamed up with another American partner, Desirae Krawczyk, to see off Mexican Giuliana Olmos and Salvadorean Marcelo Arevalo 7-5 6-2 on Arthur Ashe Stadium, in the match directly before the women's final.

Raducanu, the world number 150, was going for glory in the women's singles final against another unlikely finalist in Canada's Leylah Fernandez.

If she was seeking inspiration from fellow Britons, it was in plentiful supply, with wheelchair maestros Reid and Hewett scoring a 6-2 6-1 doubles victory over Japan's Shingo Kunieda and Argentina's Gustavo Fernandez.

That meant they sealed a clean sweep of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2021, becoming the first men's wheelchair duo in history to perform that feat.

France's Stephane Houdet previously won a calendar Grand Slam in the event, but he played with two different partners during the 2014 campaign, landing three titles with Kunieda and one with Joachim Gerard.

Rafael Nadal posed with crutches and an apparently bandaged foot as the injured former US Open champion revealed on Saturday he has undergone treatment in Barcelona.

The 20-time grand slam winner announced in August that his season was over, as he battles a problem that has troubled him since 2005 and has recently hindered his tournament preparation.

Nadal felt he was unable to do himself justice, and since a French Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic in June, he has played just two more matches, reaching the last 16 at the Citi Open in Washington.

He wrote on Instagram on Saturday: "Hello everyone, I have not communicated with you through the networks for some time.

"I can tell you that I was in Barcelona with my team and the medical team, to receive a treatment on my foot that will mean I take a few days of rest and a few weeks off court.

"I am back home and in the process of recovery. Thank you all for your support!"

The social media post shows Mallorca native Nadal giving a thumbs-up gesture to the camera, but it also gives an indication of the extent of his problem.

He stands with only his right foot on the ground, the left raised off the floor in what looks like an effort to protect it, as he props himself up with a pair of crutches in his left hand.

Nadal has won the US Open four times, most recently in 2019, but has been one of a number of star-name absentees from this year's tournament in New York.

The 35-year-old has 13 French Open wins among his haul of majors, and stands level on 20 grand slams with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic has an opportunity to go top of the all-time men's list on Sunday when he faces Daniil Medvedev in the men's final at Flushing Meadows.

As Nadal suffers, so does his great rival Federer. A Nadal return to action in 2022 appears a more likely prospect than another Federer comeback.

Federer has cast some doubt on whether he will play again, as the 40-year-old battles knee trouble. The Swiss said last month he would be "on crutches for many weeks" after surgery, declaring he wanted to give himself "a glimmer of hope" of featuring again on tour.

Novak Djokovic is well aware of the history he is poised to make in Sunday's US Open final, and he is not shying away from it. 

After his 4-6 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-2 defeat of Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals Friday, a win in the final against Daniil Medvedev would make Djokovic the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in the same year.

It would also give him a record 21st grand slam title, breaking the mark he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. 

Two astonishing achievements, neither of which is complete just yet, as Djokovic reminded observers by invoking a famous Kobe Bryant line. 

"Job is not done," Djokovic said. "Excitement is there. Motivation is there, without a doubt. Probably more than ever. But I have one more to go."

Djokovic did cross one statistical milestone off the list with Friday's win. He has now reached his 31st grand slam final, equalling Roger Federer's record. 

Since falling to Kei Nishikori in the last four at the 2014 US Open, Djokovic is 17-1 in grand slam semis. 

Zverev lauded Djokovic for his mental toughness as the world number one improved to 36-10 in five-set matches, but the top seed said he still has to fight himself to stay in control in high-pressure situations. 

"It's kind of a hurricane, a tornado, of emotions that you're going through in a sequence of one set or even one point," Djokovic said. "You are by yourself on the court, so there is no escape.

"You've got to find a way. And I think, over the years, I have managed to develop a formula that works for me. ...

"Tennis is a very beautiful sport but a very demanding sport and you've got to have mind and body balanced at all times if you want to compete at the highest level for the biggest trophies."

Few can match him on that stage and he will attempt to reach even greater heights with a win Sunday. 

His opponent, the second-seeded Medvedev, has dropped only one set on the way to the final. 

Djokovic beat him in straight sets in January to win the Australian Open and deny the 25-year-old Russian his first grand slam title. 

History will be on the line Sunday at Arthur Ashe Stadium, and Djokovic is embracing it. 

"There's only one match left. ... Let's do it,'' he said. "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.''

To hear Alexander Zverev tell it, he would have needed to be perfect to beat Novak Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals. 

In the end, a wobbly beginning to the fifth set proved the German's undoing in a 4-6 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-2 defeat Friday simply because Djokovic was at his best when it mattered most. 

Combine that enduring quality with the Serbian's incredible statistical record, said Zverev, and you have the greatest player of all time.

Djokovic will have a chance to solidify that case Sunday when he faces Daniil Medvedev for the title. 

A victory would make the 34-year-old the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in the same year and give him a record 21st grand slam title, breaking the mark he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. 

"I think it's great for the sport," Zverev said after his loss. "Nobody thought anybody will do it again, what Rod Laver did. To see ]Djokovic] have the chance on Sunday, I do believe that he will do it is great. He's breaking every single record that there is.

"If you look at the stats, if you look the pure game of tennis action, he's the greatest of all time.

"Nobody is there with him, because most weeks world number one, most Masters 1000s titles, most likely going to be the most grand slams at the end of the day.

"And he has the chance of winning all four in the same year. How do you compete with that?"

Zverev certainly tried Friday, becoming the first player to push Djokovic to a fifth set since Stefanos Tsitsipas in the French Open final. 

"I fought back," he said. "I left it all out there. ... I mean, the match could have gone both ways, but it went his way. Very often it does."

On this night, Zverev said, it was largely Djokovic's serve on big points that boosted the top seed. 

Whatever shots happened to be working better than others for Djokovic, though, one factor stood above the rest, as it usually does for him at grand slams. 

"I think mentally he's the best player to ever play the game," Zverev said. "Mentally, in the most important moments, I would rather play against anybody else but him."

Novak Djokovic is one win away from becoming the first man to complete a Grand Slam in 52 years. 

The world number one fought back to defeat Alexander Zverev 4-6 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-2 Friday in the US Open semi-finals to put himself on the brink of history. 

Djokovic will face second seed Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's final as he attempts to win a record 21st grand slam title and become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in a calendar year. 

Laver was in attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch the top seed exert his will as he has done in so many five-setters over the years, breaking down the younger player over the course of the match to emerge with yet another triumph. 

Zverev had ended Djokovic's chances of a Golden Slam with a semi-final win at the Tokyo Olympics, rallying for a three-set win after dropping the opening set, but the script was different Friday. 

It started with Djokovic losing the opening set for the fourth successive match in New York. In the previous three rounds, he did not drop more than three games in any subsequent set, but Zverev made him work harder this time. 

With the first set even at 4-4, Djokovic fell behind 15-40 and double faulted on break point to give Zverev the opening he needed. Though his next service game was a bit shaky, Zverev managed to take the set when Djokovic mis-hit a forehand.

The German's momentum did not last, though, as he returned the favour by double faulting on break point in his first service game of the second set and watched Djokovic level the match with relative ease. 

Zverev had a chance to take control early in the third, earning two break points at 2-2, but he failed to convert and did not get another chance. When Djokovic had a similar opportunity up 5-4, though, he closed it out.

Down 0-40 in that game, Zverev saved two break points – the latter via an epic 53-shot rally that was the longest at this year's US Open – but Djokovic slammed home an overhead winner on the next point to take the set. 

Zverev shook off that disappointment and put the pressure back on Djokovic by hammering a forehand winner down the line to break the top seed and take a 2-1 lead in the fourth.

The German did not falter the rest of the set, eventually serving it out to force a decider and push Djokovic to a fifth set for the first time since the French Open final against Stefanos Tsitsipas. 

Djokovic jumped to an early lead in the fifth, forcing Zverev to the net on break point in the second game with a beautiful drop shot before finishing the younger player off with a cross-court winner. 

Djokovic reeled off four consecutive points to break Zverev in his next service game, then held at love to put the fourth seed on the brink at 5-0. 

Zverev, a winner in seven of his previous eight five-setters, did not surrender, breaking Djokovic thanks to a double fault on game point to pull within 5-2. 

But Djokovic ended it there, breaking back to close out the match in the next game as Zverev sent a forehand into the net from the baseline.

DATA SLAM

With the victory, Djokovic improved to 34-2 in night matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium and 36-10 in five-set matches in his career, winning his last seven in a row. 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 41/49
Zverev – 49/50

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 12/2
Zverev – 16/8

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 5/8
Zverev – 3/12

The first time Daniil Medvedev made the US Open final, in 2019, he was just happy to be there, having made his deepest run at a grand slam. 

The Russian will enter Sunday's final at Flushing Meadows with a different mindset after breezing past Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4 7-5 6-2 in the semi-finals. 

After falling to Rafael Nadal in five sets two years ago in New York and losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final earlier this year, Medvedev is ready for a grand slam title of his own. 

"The more you lose something, the more you want to win it," Medvedev said after his semi-final win Friday. 

"I lost two finals. I want to win the third one. That's tennis, we have two players, only one going to win. You never know what's going to happen, but I'm going to try more than I did the first two times."

Medvedev has rolled through the draw, dropping only one set on the way to the final – the third to Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals. 

The world number two hopes the fact that he has not faced any marathon matches during his run to the final will help him Sunday. 

"There were some tight moments. There were some tight battles," he said. "Against Botic I won 7-5 in the fourth, which is not that much of a margin.

"It's never easy, but I'm happy that I managed to save a lot of physical abilities, physical power, and mental power.

"For sure, I mean, I don't think anybody is capable of winning a slam after playing, let's say, first three rounds five sets. I doubt this ever happened. So this is important.

"I'm really happy I managed to make it kind of fast."

Friday's match was no different, as Medvedev's only difficulty came when he fell behind 5-2 in the second set. 

But Auger-Aliassime could not finish the job, with Medvedev reeling off five successive games to end the threat before closing out the Canadian with ease in the third. 

"Many times you're going to lose a break against such an opponent as Felix, he had set points on his serve, you're going to lose a set," Medvedev said. "We can never know now how the match would go. Could be completely different story, being one set all, would be the first time for me in the tournament.

"I'm happy I managed to save this game, doing one great point and second one making him play the volley. Then it turned the match around. I think he started doubting.

"For sure it stayed in his mind, this game, so he started missing. I started putting more pressure. The match turned around. That was the key point."

Daniil Medvedev flicked away the threat of Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach his third grand slam final and second US Open title match.

The Russian was briefly in trouble in the second set, when Auger-Aliassime could not serve it out after establishing a 5-2 lead, but he was otherwise in charge as he nailed a 6-4 7-5 6-2 semi-final win.

It means the man who was beaten by Rafael Nadal in a mesmerising 2019 Flushing Meadows final will be back on Sunday to go after a first title at the majors.

World number two Medvedev looked in good shape here, and it was always going to take a major effort for 12th-seeded Canadian Auger-Aliassime to test him.

That test arrived when Auger-Aliassime led by a break in the second set but could not finish the job.

Medvedev soon levelled the set at 5-5 and Auger-Aliassime coughed up an ugly double fault to give him a look at 0-30 in the next game, before fluffing a volley to present the Russian with three game points.

A forehand into the net moved Medvedev into a 6-5 lead, serving for a two-set cushion, and a fuss-free game moved the Moscow-born 25-year-old one step away from the final.

Auger-Aliassime was looking to follow his fellow Canadian Leylah Fernandez into a US Open final this weekend, yet the failure to seize that one big chance was his undoing.

Playing ahead of the second semi-final between calendar Grand Slam-hunting Novak Djokovic and Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, it was plain sailing in the third set for Medvedev.

He struck a startling forehand winner around the net post late in the contest, demonstrating the sort of class to test the best.

Medvedev described the clash as "a strange match", saying in an on-court interview: "I think everybody thought it was going to be one set all, and you never know where the match is going to go.

"I managed to save the set points: he missed one volley and I won one good point, and the match turned around completely. I don't think I played my best today, but I'm really happy to be in the final."

He quite reasonably described his five-set thriller against Nadal two years ago as "a crazy match".

"If it's going to be a crazy match on Sunday, I just hope I can win this time," he added.


DATA SLAM

Medvedev won a terrific 81 per cent of points when landing his first serve in court, which is match-winning tennis and the sort of form he may need in the final. A three-set drubbing by Djokovic in the Australian Open final at the start of this year was an anti-climax given the match promised so much, and Medvedev won just 69 per cent on first serve in that one-sided match. All the ratios looked good for Medvedev in this match, but he will know the final is a step up. He looks destined to win multiple grand slams, but getting the first one is often the toughest.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Medvedev – 37/25
Auger-Aliassime – 17/39

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Medvedev – 12/4
Auger-Aliassime – 4/10

BREAK POINTS WON

Medvedev – 5/5
Auger-Aliassime – 1/3

Novak Djokovic knows he faces a tough challenge in his US Open semi-final with Alexander Zverev after coming from a set down to beat Matteo Berrettini.

The Serbian triumphed 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-3 to thwart Berrettini's revenge mission, having defeated the Italian in this year's Wimbledon final.

The world number one now faces the man who denied him a shot at the Golden Slam, with Zverev dumping Djokovic out of the semi-finals at Tokyo 2020.

And the 20-time grand slam winner was full of praise for his next opponent.

"He's in tremendous form, he's been winning a lot," said Djokovic, who still has the Calendar Grand Slam in his sights. "He has comfortably moved to the semi-finals here.

"I know his game well, we played in Tokyo. He's one of the best players in the world, but the bigger the challenge the more glory in overcoming it."

Reflecting on his victory over Berrettini, Djokovic felt he found his best form after dropping the opening set.

"This was a great match, with a lot of energy on and off the court," he said. 

"Matteo is a terrific player and every time we face each other it's a close battle.

"When I lost the first set, I managed to forget about it and move on. I was locked in at the start of the second and it was the best three sets I've played so far."

Novak Djokovic moved within two wins of an historic calendar Grand Slam at the US Open after completing a merciless comeback against Matteo Berrettini 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-3 en route to the semi-finals.

Berrettini was seeking revenge for his Wimbledon final loss to Djokovic and the Italian sixth seed gave himself a good chance after winning the opening set at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

But Berrettini was helplessly outclassed in a devastating display from world number one Djokovic, who is bidding to become just the third man to sweep all four majors in a year and first since 1969.

The 20-time major champion, who can also break the record for most men's slam titles – currently tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, will face Alexander Zverev in the New York semis.

For the third consecutive match, Djokovic done it the hard way, rallying after dropping the opening set, just like he did against Jenson Brooksby and Kei Nishikori.

In a brutal display of big hitting, Berrettini had the crowd roaring – firing down seven aces and saving two break points in a marathon first set lasting one hour, 17 minutes.

Berrettini held serve in a physically demanding sixth game after 12 minutes and seven deuces.

Djokovic – not without his chances – did not look like his usual self, spraying a forehand wide as Berrettini seized control following four set points.

Berrettini was looking to claim his first win over Djokovic after three consecutive defeats and earn his first top-10 victory at a grand slam (0-5 heading into the contest), but the Serb star turned the match on its head into the second set.

Djokovic, though, flipped the switch as he broke for the first time to move 3-1 ahead before consolidating for a 4-1 lead, silencing the pro-Berrettini crowd in New York, where the latter was unable to stop the rot.

Berrettini looked deflated and tired in the third set – Djokovic racing out to a commanding 3-0 advantage.

Djokovic missed the chance to move 5-2 ahead but it only delayed the inevitable as he fended off a break point the very next game to eventually earn a two-sets-to-one lead.

And the 34-year-old could not be stopped as he celebrated his 80th US Open match win in emphatic fashion.

 

Data slam: Can Djokovic be stopped?

Djokovic extended his winning streak at grand slams to 26 matches, while he also remains unbeaten in US Open quarter-finals (12-0). The record-chasing star also owns a 9-0 major record in 2021 after dropping the first set.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 44/28
Berrettini – 42/43

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 12/4
Berrettini – 17/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 5/16
Berrettini – 1/5

Alexander Zverev is riding a wave at the US Open after his confidence-boosting win over world number one Novak Djokovic en route to claiming gold at the Olympic Games.

Zverev survived a first-set scare to power past Lloyd Harris 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-4 in Wednesday's US Open quarter-final.

The German fourth seed will face either Djokovic, who is bidding to become just the third man to complete a calendar Grand Slam and first since 1969, or Matteo Berrettini for a spot in the men's final at Flushing Meadows.

Zverev – last year's US Open runner-up – said he has been fuelled by his semi-final win over Djokovic at the Tokyo Games.

"It's the biggest tournament in the world, Tokyo. It's the Olympics," Zverev said during his post-match news conference.

"Winning there against the world number one, especially that I was down a set and a break, being kind of out of the match, then coming back, it was different than the other matches. The emotions were different.

"Also securing a medal for Germany was very special to me. This year it seems like nobody can beat him in a big match, nobody can beat him at the grand slams.

"I feel like I was the first player to beat him in a very big match this year. That does give you something. To any person it would give you something.

"As I said before also, I think it was very important for me to back it up in the finals, back it up in Cincinnati. Hopefully I can continue this streak."

Zverev is in the midst of a career-best 16-match winning streak and has clinched 37 of 40 sets on the hard courts after winning Olympic gold and his fifth career ATP Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati.

The 24-year-old is bidding to become the second man in history to win Olympic gold medal and the US Open/US Championships title in the same season, after Andy Murray in 2012.

On preparing against Djokovic, Zverev added: "You have to be perfect, otherwise you will not win.

"Most of the time you can't be perfect. That's why most of the time people lose to him. Against him, you have to win the match yourself. You have to be the one that is dominating the points. You have to do it with very little unforced errors.

"He is the best player in the world. He is very difficult to beat. But he's still also got to win tonight. He's playing Matteo Berrettini who is in very good form, finals of Wimbledon. I think he's looking forward to that match, as well. It's going to be an interesting match to watch those two."

Alexander Zverev won his 16th match in a row with a straight-sets victory over Lloyd Harris on Wednesday to reach the US Open semi-finals.

The fourth seed saved a set point from Harris in a tense opener and built on that to earn a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-4 triumph in a little over two hours.

Zverev has dropped just one set across his five matches at Flushing Meadows this year and will face either Novak Djokovic or Matteo Berrettini as he seeks a place in back-to-back finals.

"I just hope their match goes on for eight hours and 30 minutes," Zverev joked when asked who he would prefer to face in the semi-finals.

"I didn't have a lot of chances on Harris' serve today and somehow managed to win that first set, which loosened me up a little bit and I started playing a lot better.

"In the third set, he started swinging. He started playing incredible tennis. So yeah, I'm happy to be through in three."

Harris beat three top-30 seeds to make it to this stage and more than held his own in the opening set against Zverev, who lost to Dominic Thiem in last year's final.

After sharing a break of serve apiece, Harris led 6-5 in the tie-break but lost the next three points to offer his opponent a platform to build from.

Despite struggling with a minor back problem, Zverev took advantage of his unseeded opponent's five unforced errors by holding throughout the second set.

The four-time grand slam semi-finalist raced into a 4-0 lead in the third set, but Harris slowly regained his composure and claimed the next three games.

Zverev's monster serve came to his rescue, however, as he took the eighth game and eased over the line in style with his 21st ace of the contest.

 

DATA SLAM

Zverev did not have things all his own way as he struggled in the opening set and was sloppy when leading 4-1 in the final set, but he ultimately proved too strong for an opponent ranked 46th in the world.

Last year's beaten finalist Zverev has served 83 aces and just 15 double faults across his first five matches and won 82 per cent of his first-serve points against Harris. Whether it is Djokovic or Berrettini, a tougher test awaits in the semi-finals.


WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Zverev – 43/26
Harris – 34/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Zverev – 21/5
Harris – 13/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Zverev – 4/9
Harris – 2/3

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