We return to Flushing Meadows for the semifinal stage. Over on the men’s side, Novak Djokovic is only two matches from a historic Calendar Slam and 21st Major titles overall – leapfrogging both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
He faces Alexander Zverev in an attempt to avenge his recent Olympics loss – but the German is sizzling hot on a 16-match win streak. Let’s take a look at the ATP odds for this one
Alexander Zverev vs. Novak Djokovic
Friday, September 10, 2021 – 07:00 PM EDT at Arthur Ashe Stadium
It hasn't quite been business as usual for Novak Djokovic in his bid to make history. Following a lengthy break post-Olympics, the world's no.1 has lost a set in all but one of his matches to date the US Open.
Holger Rune was able to battle his way to a second set tiebreak win through his big-hitting, Kei Nishikori rolled back the years, Matteo Berrettini managed to take a set yet again before getting closed in four - and Jenson Brooksby won 6-1 the first set.
The young American was able to do what Djokovic himself so often does to his opponents, relentlessly get back every ball, make them miss, and tire them out.
Jenson eventually ran out of gas, but his unusual style showcased that the Serb can be exposed for at least a set with the right game plan and high-level execution.
The world's no.1 has been vulnerable on serve, with baseline beasts like Brooksby and Nishikori able to create double-digit break points chances over four sets.
While he has been tested, it still takes something extraordinary to match Novak over the full distance at a Major tournament, however.
He's up to 16 consecutive wins now, and there are still no signs of stopping for Alexander Zverev. This newfound confidence has allowed him to be much more aggressive within rallies and go for his shots, which can be absolutely humungous when committed to.
So far in the tournament, Sascha has served incredibly, smashing down 83 aces to only 15 double faults (last year he had 10 or more double faults in four games alone).
The strong serving performance continued against Lloyd Harris, with a high number of first serves made (68%) and 82% won behind it. After saving a set point on return in the first set tiebreak, the German never looked back. Making things very uncomfortable with his relentlessness, Harris was forced into errors aplenty and eventually the match was decided in straight sets.
If Zverev continues playing at the level he's produced thus far, this showdown has every chance to become one of the best matches of the tournament. Unlike Djokovic's previous opposition, Zverev will neither tire like Brooksby nor be limited in his game (Berrettini backhand, movement, consistency and Nishikori serve) to make this a comfortable proposition.
When the pair met at the Olympics, Djokovic led by a set and a break before falling apart and losing his way. While these vulnerabilities have shown themselves in this tournament as well, winning three sets against likely the greatest of all time still will be a monumental challenge. Zverev has that recent win in his locker, however, and both the game and self-belief to make it happen.
The total is also on the higher side at 39. It still doesn't seem high enough though, with longer sets a distinct possibility.
The last time they faced at a Major was at the 2021 Australian Open, where Djokovic prevailed 3-1 with two tiebreaks - the total soaring to 44 games before it was all over. Look for another over in this one.
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