2023 US Open: No. 2 Novak Djokovic advances to final, awaits winner of Alcaraz vs. Medvedev match

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic advanced to the 2023 US Open final after taking down Ben Shelton 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) on Friday evening at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Serbian star will be competing in his 36th career Grand Slam final.

Djokovic is now awaiting the winner of the match between No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and third-seeded Daniil Medvedev. He is just one win away from his fourth US Open trophy and his 24th major title.

Alcaraz won the US Open last year and has started a rivalry with Djokovic as they’ve been trading the world No. 1 spot all season. Alcaraz took him down in the Wimbledon finals, but Djokovic got his revenge at the Cincinnati Open.

Meanwhile, Medvedev won the 2021 US Open and is trying to redeem himself after losing to Nick Kyrgios during last year’s Round of 16.

Alcaraz has won the last two matches against Medvedev, in the Indian Wells final and Wimbledon semifinals earlier this year, but the Russian star is embracing the challenge. In an interview with CBS Sports, Medvedev said playing against the two top-ranked players brings the best out of him.

No. 2 Novak Djokovic def. Ben Shelton 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) 

Shelton had been the the youngest American man to reach the semifinals of the US Open since Michael Chang in 1992. Falling to Djokovic means the US has gone another year without a man winning a Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick in 2003, or reached a final since 2009.

Djokovic took control early in the match and won the last four games of the second set. It seemed like he had the third in the bag but Shelton wanted to go down swinging and made it a true battle at the end. The American rising star turned heads with a 149 mph serve earlier in the tournament, but he had played more conservatively against Djokovic. 

Shelton finally registered a 145 mph serve in the third set and fought hard enough to force a tiebreak. Unfortunately for him, his opponent was a veteran who knows how to keep his composure. Djokovic entered this tiebreak with a 24-5 record and added another win against the young American.

“These are the kind of matches and occasions that I still thrive on. They still get me going and inspire me to wake up and work hard like the young guys,” said Djokovic during his on-court interview. “Grand Slams are the occasions that motivate me the most to play my best tennis.”

“I’ve been blessed to really play this sport for so many years, and I’ve achieved a lot but I still feel I have something in my legs left. I still feel I have something to give to the sport.”

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