By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, September 5, 2023
NEW YORK—Novak Djokovic transformed Arthur Ashe Stadium into a house party today.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion will try to sustain his revelry run in Friday’s US Open semifinals.
Djokovic dismantled American No. 1 Taylor Fritz 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 raising his US Open quarterfinal record to 13-0.
It is Djokovic’s 47th career Grand Slam semifinal—putting him one ahead of rival Roger Federer for the all-time record—and served as a prelude to the Serbian superstar facing another American in the semifinals.
The second-seeded Djokovic will face either 2022 US Open semifinalist Frances Tiafoe or explosive 20-year-old left-hander Ben Shelton for a spot in Sunday’s final.
Djokovic has amassed a 30-match winning streak vs. Americans since his last loss to Sam Querrey at the 2016 Wimbledon and owns a 12-match winning streak vs. U.S. men at the US Open where he has never lost to an American.
Given his dominance of the stars and stripes, and the fact he rides a 10-match hard-court winning streak into the semifinals, you can understand why Djokovic is revved and ready to go.
“I have to be ready for a great battle,” Djokovic said. “Both of the guys that I’m going to face eventually on Friday, Shelton and Tiafoe, have a lot of charisma. They bring a lot of energy on the court. They are very quick, very powerful. Ben Shelton has been serving some bombs this tournament. When his serve is on, he’s very difficult player to play against, especially because he’s lefty, as well.
Then you have the Big ‘Foe who is one of the favorite guys in the locker room, fun to be around, always smiling, always bringing good vibes, and fantastic player. He’s played semis US Open last year here, beat Nadal in quarters and had a great run. And he thrives.”
Djokovic is aiming to burst out of the blocks with another fast start as he did today against Fritz in an effort to mute the pro-American crowd.
“Both actually, both players thrive on the energy of the crowd, of the center court, kind of gets them going, and they play their best,” Djokovic said. “It’s going to be fun to watch them tonight. I think it’s going to be quite close match the way they are both playing pretty well. Yeah, I look forward to it. I have couple days off, no match. It actually serves well for my body at this stage of the tournament, and I’ll be ready for Friday whoever is across the net.”
Photo credit: Darren Carroll/USTA/US Open