Novak Djokovic beats Taylor Fritz to reach US Open semifinals and keep alive hopes of 24th Grand Slam title
Novak Djokovic survived the draining heat and humidity of Flushing Meadows to see off the highest remaining American seed to make the last four of the US Open.
The 36 year-old Serbian inflicted his eighth straight defeat on number nine Taylor Fritz to make the semi-finals, where he was awaiting the winner of the all-American clash between Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton.
Towards the end of a 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory that took two hours and 35 minutes Djokovic became tetchy, keen to see off the Californian and preserve his energy for later challenges. He was grateful for Fritz, also feeling the tough conditions, throwing in a comedy of errors – there were 51 unforced in all – after breaking him back for 4-4 in the third.
‘I’m drenched in sweat, it was very humid, difficult to play but for both players it was the same, not easy but you have got to fight, fight for your right to party,’ said Djokovic.
‘I’m going to be playing another American, I have got to be ready for whatever is coming my way. It’s expected that the people are backing the home player, I like the energy on the court here, I actually thrive on that.’
Novak Djokovic survived the draining heat and humidity to make the last four of the US Open
Upon his return to New York after being barred last year for refusing to take a Covid jab there is a sense that Djokovic is yet to hit his full stride, but he has managed to take advantage of what has been a generous draw.
For the Serb it will be a 47th Grand Slam semi-final appearance, one more than Roger Federer.
‘Obviously this is the sport that has given me so much in my life – coming from Serbia, a war-torn country in the 90s. I faced a lot of adversity,’ he said.
‘I had to endure a lot with my family… withouth their support, without my parents I wouldn’t be here.’
He added: ‘There’s a lot of things im very grateful for, obviously it’s a huge opportunity every time I step out on the court at this age, at this stage of my career. I don’t know how many more opportunities I will have so I try to enjoy it as much as I can.