Ben Shelton as was expected defeated While Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev stunned defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in their quarterfinal round.
Sunday’s matchup among Medvedev and Djokovic will be a rematch of the 2021 U.S. Open last rather than the legendary Alcaraz-Djokovic last from three weeks prior, which was a rematch of the Wimbledon last in July and a rematch of their elimination round confrontation at the French Open in June.
Djokovic’s hopes of becoming the first person in 50 years to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single calendar year were ended on that day when Medvedev, a 27-year-old Russian with quirky strokes, silly one-liners, and a dead fish victory celebration, destroyed the Serbian champion.
Medvedev remarked that Novak “always plays better than the last time he played.”
Medvedev matched Alcaraz shot for shot throughout the night, forcing him to the brink of losing his composure in the second set as he chased down every ball and unleashed one of the game’s most lethal serves. At the last second, he refrained from tossing his racket to the floor. The Russian eventually defeated the tournament’s top seed and current world No. 1 in four sets, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, by withstanding Alcaraz’s third set comeback attempt.
After the tense battle, Alcaraz declared, “I’m going to change my mind.” I’m not old enough to handle these matches, she said.
Alcaraz had his moments, particularly early in the third set when he started to dance over the court and take charge of points by leaping into the net to smash his punishing volleys. As Alcaraz halved the lead, he discovered that extra zip in his ground strokes and caused Medvedev to droop his head for the first time all night.
However, after a trip to the lavatory and a change of clothes, Medvedev reverted to his original state and transformed into the human backboard once more, capable of squeezing a ball past even his most talented and acrobatic opponent.
He accomplished that in the lengthy sixth game of the fourth set, which lasted almost 15 minutes. On his second attempt to break Alcaraz’s serve, he threw a backhand return onto the Spaniard’s shoelaces as he charged toward the net. He made the same hand motion he had been doing all night as he gazed up at the audience: “How about some love for me?”
Two games later, he had secured the second victory of the men’s semifinals, one in which toughness triumphed over elegance. The fingers raised themselves once more. Alcaraz had easily defeated him twice this year. Not on this particular day, and it was then time to start concentrating on the next match with Djokovic, which is unlike any other challenge in the sport.
It’s a mental exercise where you desire to go to war, according to Medvedev.
During a Grand Slam final, Djokovic is rarely in better shape than he is right now, especially recently. He is preparing to play in his fourth game of the year and has two victories.
The biggest ambitions and objectives that he has are grand slams, he stated on Friday night.
Ben Shelton, a 20-year-old Florida lightning rod, had to be defeated for Djokovic to win the championship. Ben Shelton put on one of the U.S. Open’s most exciting performances each time he took the court, similar to Alcaraz.
Again, against Djokovic, he was a racket-waving highlight reel, playing the kind of tennis that could inspire every American supporter to pay respect to the spirit of “Big” Bill Tilden or whatever supernatural power compelled Ben Shelton to pursue tennis as a youngster rather than football.
That second serve at 143 mph and the frightful forehand the kid ripped across the court The physicality he showed drifting back to transform strong hurls into courageous, shaking overhands. Additionally, that touch on drop volleys, which land and then spin back toward the net.
Unfortunately for Ben Shelton, there are no style points in the tennis scoring system, and Djokovic was not just the greatest player of the modern age and a 23-time Grand Slam winner, but also the pinnacle of tennis tai chi. The 36-year-old Djokovic has been using the strength and style of his most flashy and forceful competitors against them for years, but never more so than during his most recent run of success.
Djokovic, who was competing in a record-breaking 47th Grand Slam semifinal, deconstructed Ben Shelton tactically, crushing the hopes, positive energy, and flare that so many younger players had previously brought to the table. In just over two and a half hours, Djokovic destroyed the young man with the sculpted arms, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), without exerting a single extra ounce of effort.
He picked off the rockets on Ben Shelton’s serve like he was catching butterflies in a field on a late summer afternoon, and for the majority of the afternoon, he chased down Ben Shelton’s drop shots from the back of the court like a cheetah hunting its lunch. Even Ben Shelton’s much-discussed post-match celebration, in which he mimed holding a phone to his ear and slammed it to the ground before offering the young man an icy handshake, was stolen by Djokovic when it finished with a forehand from Shelton that sailed into the net.
After Djokovic departed the court, Ben Shelton subsequently viewed his impersonation on tape. People advising him how to celebrate don’t particularly please him, he claimed.
Ben Shelton threw Djokovic a sneer as he neared the net and added, “I think if you win the match, you deserve to do whatever you want.” I always believed that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery as a child, so that’s all I have to say on the subject.
I simply adore Ben’s celebration, Djokovic remarked once Ben Shelton had finished talking about it. Because I felt it was so creative, I imitated him.
You see, Djokovic enjoys spectacular tennis highlights just as much as everybody else. He swung about as hard as he could as he took the court for the third set with a seemingly insurmountable — against him — two-set lead and saw Ben Shelton feather a drop volley. The moment received the racket clap it deserved from Djokovic. Nice work, young man. Later, he sped onto the court and fired a passing shot to once again shatter Ben Shelton’s spirit and serve.
Djokovic performed all of these actions in front of a nearly 24,000-strong audience at Arthur Ashe Stadium who were ready for a high-intensity brawl. The roof was closed due to the nearby thunderstorms, and every time Ben Shelton put on one of his exhibitions of strength, dexterity, quickness, and athleticism and won the game, the roars could be practically touched.
Then, once more, Djokovic suffocated the occasion with his signature performance: a serve out wide at a speed of 124 mph that Ben Shelton was unable to handle. It was now back to normal.
The crowded stadium could yet see a little more Ben Shelton and Djokovic. Ben Shelton held on for a little while after saving match point and forcing a tiebreaker in the third set before losing 5-1. But Djokovic needed to get things done and was entitled to his spot in his 36th Grand Slam final. As soon as he sealed the deal, it was his time to enjoy the commotion and hang up the phone, just as he had anticipated.
I always have faith in my ability, skills, and quality as a tennis player to perform when it counts.